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6irton Colleoe Studies II 


HUGH REES, Ltd., 124, Pall Mall, S.W. 




^ The following essay is an attempt to bring together in 

a connected form the scattered material that exists for 

the history of the Council in the Marches of Wales. The 

fullest account of the Council has hitherto been that by 

Judge Lewis in Y Cymmrodor, Vol. XII., which is sup- 

co plemented by Mr. Lleufer Thomas's article in Vol. XIII. 

'Z But Judge Lewis's account extends only to the year 

c> 1575, and since its publication much additional infor- 

1— mation has become available, partly through the further 

•■"^ calendaring of the Domestic State Papers, and the 

publication of the Acts of the Privy Council (down 

to 1597) and of the Historical MSS. Commission 


I acknowledge with gratitude the help I have received 

from many, especially the permission accorded me by 

33 the Earl of Ellesmere to transcribe the documents pre- 

'^ served at the Bridgewater Trust Office, Walkden, near 

^ Manchester. To the Muniment Keeper, Strachan Holme, 

Esq., and to the officials at Walkden I am indebted for 

much personal kindness. I have also to thank the Town 

Clerk of Shrewsbury, H. C. Clarke, Esq., and the Borough 

Clerk of Ludlow, J. H. Williams, Esq., for permission to 

transcribe the MSS. under their care, and for their 

courteous and ready help. To J. R. Phillips, Esq., of 

Shrewsbury, I owe the loan of a valuable transcript of 



an important sixteenth-century case. I have also 
to thank F. Madan, Esq., of the Bodleian Library, 
H. R. H. Southam, Esq., F.S.A., late Mayor of Shrewsbury 
Miss Auden, of Condover, and A. W. Weyman, Esq., 
of Ludlow, for much kindly interest. To Professor Tout 
and to J. E. Morris, Esq., I am indebted for several 
helpful suggestions. 

I also welcome this opportunity of thanking those 
especially who have helped me both by direct teaching 
and by the example of their work — Hubert Hall, Esq., 
of the Public Record Office, and Passmore Edwards 
Lecturer at the School of Economics, and I. S. Leadam, 
Esq., Creighton Lecturer in Historical Sources. 

In conclusion I desire to express my grateful ac- 
knowledgments to the Publication Committee of Girton 
College for the grant it has made towards the printing 
of this thesis. It was first written in candidature for 
the Degree of Doctor of Literature in the University 
of London, and is now included in the Series of Girton 
College Studies. 

C. A. J. SKEEL. 

Westfield College, Hampstead. 
October^ 1904. 









ROWLAND LEE ....... 49-80 



SIR HENRY SYDNEY, 1559-86 .... 81-II3 




OF BRIDGEWATER, 163I-42 . . . 129-165 





ITS ABOLITION IN 1689 166-179 



















INDEX 295 



The documents relating to the Council may be classified as follows : 

I. State Papers, including : {a) Instructions and the preparatory drafts 
and comments, correspondence between the Privy Council and the 
Lord President, warrants for payment of fees, papers relating to 
the Council's jurisdiction, etc., etc. ; {b) records of fines paid into the 

Under the former head {a) a considerable mass of material is pre- 
served, partly in the British Museum, partly among the State Papers 
Domestic in the Public Record Office, and partly in the Privy Council 
Office. Of the Exchequer records only a few papers are preserved 
(list given below). 

In all probability the separate collection of papers relating to Wales 
(which undoubtedly existed before the Act of Union) ' was continued 
down to the seventeenth century. It was probably kept with the State 
Papers, the Council Office Records, and the Signet Office Records, 
under the Old Banquetting House at Whitehall. Loss was doubtless 
occasioned by the moving of the State Papers in 1614 and again in 
1618; still more by the Whitehall fire of 1619, when the old Council 
chests were broken up and the surviving papers placed in presses 
with the State Papers Domestic. A trace of this central collection 
occurs in a list written by Sir Ralph Sadler in 155 1, "L'resand Matiers 
touching the M'ches of Wales." ^ 

II. The actual records of the proceedings of the Council at Ludlow 
and elsewhere. — These have, with few exceptions, perished. At one 

' Exchequer Records. Treasury of Receipt Department, Liber A., Nos. 3 
(Papal Bulls), 15, 16 (Welsh Wars). 

- State Paper Office Documents, Vol. I., 1546-1666, f. 20. For this and the 
preceding reference I am indebted to the kindness of Mr. Hubert Hall. 


time they must have been numerous, to judge by the large number of 
cases (often two hundred to three hundred a term) brought before the 
Court. In the earlier days of the Council its Acts and decrees were 
registered "in faire paper bookes of great volumes fully and at large 
like as in the Chancery." Safe keeping of the records is urged again 
and again in the instructions, though with little effect, in spite of 
Sir Henry Sydney's provision of rooms under the court-house for the 
express purpose. But though carelessness may account for the loss 
of some of the Council records, it is certain that large numbers survived 
down to 1642. They are not mentioned in the list of goods at Ludlow 
Castle inventoried and sold by order of the Council of State in 
October, 1650. Of course, some may have been destroyed when the 
castle was taken by Brereton in 1646 ; but had this been the case 
with all, we should have expected some reference to it after the 
Restoration. Dineley, the author of the Beaufort Progress, though 
quick to notice tokens of the ravages committed in the late war, says 
nothing of the records. It would seem, therefore, that the bulk at any 
rate survived till 1689, when the Court was abolished. 

Judge Lewis, in his History of the Council in the Marches down 
to 1575, writes that a few years back it became important, for the 
purposes of an action tried |in one of the Welsh Courts, to find, if 
possible, the records ot the Court for the reign of Queen Elizabeth. 
A firm of eminent record agents was engaged to make search at the 
Record Office, the British Museum, Ludlow, Bewdley, and elsewhere, 
but with no result. He adds, "it is pretty certain that the records 
of the Court have for the most part, if not altogether, been destroyed. 
If any still exist, they will probably be found in old libraries, belonging 
to persons whose ancestors or the ancestors of whose predecessors in 
title were officials connected with the Court." 

Since the above words were written the Historical MSS. Com- 
mission has brought to light some documents which are undoubtedly 
contemporary records of the Court — viz. the MSS. preserved at the 
Bridgewater Trust Office, Walkden, Lancashire. These documents, 
which are fully described in Chapter V., have been used for the first 
time in the present essay, and are of service in supplementing the 
material afforded by the Dovaston MS., on which Clive largely based 
his History of Ludlow. 

III. Ofdcrs and letters fro7?i the Council preserved in the jnunicipal 
and other collections of MSS. — The chief of these are the collections 
of Shrewsbury, Ludlow, and Hereford ; some references also occur 
in those of Chester and Bridgenorth. 


In the compilation of the following list much help has been derived 
from Mr. Owen's Catalogue of MSS. in the British Museum, relating 
to Wales, and from the Bibliography prefixed to Miss Cora Scofield's 
Dissertation on the Star Chamber. 

British Museum 

1. Cotfonian MSS. 

Vitellius, C. i., f. 2 (Ordinances at Shrewsbury, i8 Edw. IV.). 
,, ,, ff. 3-5 (Cromwell's Remembrances). 

,, ,, f. 6 (List of Assistants to the King's Commissioners). 

,, ,, ff. 7-20 (Instructions for the Princess's Council). 

,, ,, ff. 134-5 (Four Counties Case; the King's Speech). 

„ ,, f. 191 (List of Lords President). 

,, ,, ff. 197, 204 (Abstract of Lord Eure's Instructions and 

of Instructions for the Council of the North). 
„ „ f. 205 (Letter to Sir Herbert Croft : Four Counties 

,, ,, f. 206 (Letter from Lord Eure). 

,, ,, f. 207 (Letter from Queen Mary to Bishop Bourne). 

,, ,, ff. 208-9 (Exemption of Cheshire). 

Titus, A. xxvi., f. 229 (Description of the Council of the Marches ; 

Comparison with the French Parlements). 
„ B. i., f. 321 (Letter from Dr. Sampson to Wolsey describing 

the Princess Mary), 

M f. 150 ] 

,, „ f. 461 H Cromwell's Remembrances). 

Cleopatra, E. VI., f.3i2j 

,, ,, f. 328 (Household of the Princess Mary). 

2. Lansdowne MSS. 

12, ff. 163-4 (Fees of Officers). 

22, ff. 166-70 (Abuses in Council). 

28, ff. 124-5 (Fees ; List of Debts). 

32, ff. 126^-7 (Fines, 1581). 

38, f. 95 (Letter from Sir James Croft). 

38, f. 97 (List of Fees and Fines, 25 Eliz.). 

38, f. 99 (List of Fines, 19-25 Eliz.). 

45, ff. 8-ix (Brief of the Instructions for Wales, September, 1585). 


49, f. 82 (Instructions to Sir Henry Sydney. Printed by Clive, 

PP- 309-34)- 
49, ff. 173-86 {I'e Instructions). 
49, f. 188 (Provision of Grain). 
49, f. 189 (^c Instructions). 
49, ff. 1 90- 1 {7-e Instructions). 
49, ff. 195-6 (Notes of Instructions). 

49, ff. 197-207 (Instructions to the Earl of Pembroke, 1586). 
51, ff. 103-14 (Brief Collections of the Present State of the Court. 

See pp. 219-25). 
53, f. 138 (Letter from the Earl of Pembroke to Lord Burghley). 
60, ff. 103-12 {re Instructions). 

63, ff. S8-98 (List of Possible Members of the Council, etc.). 
63, f. 179 (Forces to be sent to Milford Haven and the Isle of 

63, f. 187 (Charges against the Earl of Pembroke). 
63, f. 193 (Need of Fit Councillors). 
67, f. 242 (Abuses in the Court). 
67, f. 243 (Reforms begun by the Earl of Pembroke). 
76, f. \\\b-<^ (Reforms needed). 
79) f- 33 (Reforms needed and not accomplished). 
84, flf. 84-5 (Charges of Extortion against Certain Persons before the 

Court of the Marches). 
87, f. 24-6 (Case of Simon Cotherington). 
87, f. 124 (List of Servants in the Ludlow Household). 

Ill, ff. 1-5 (The Office of the Queen's Solicitor in Wales). 

Ill, ff. 6-7 (Charges of Extortion against William Thomas and 

Ill, f. 12 (Ecclesiastical Commission). 

Ill, f. 20 (Repairs done by Sir Henry Sydney at Tickenhill). 

Ill, ff. 21-4 (Debts owing and Fines due). 

Ill, ff. 25, 29, 31-7 (Remembrances concerning the Court). 

155, ff. 222(^-49^ (Instructions to Sir Henry Sydney). 

156, f. 394 (Caesar Papers ; Payment of Diet Money). 
159, f. 50 (Religious Condition of Wales). 

165, f. 264 {re Instructions). 

216, ff. 34-9 (Treatise on the Government of Wales). 
216, ff. 46-501^ (State of the Cause concerning the Lord President and 
Council in the Marches of Wales). 


3. Har grave MSS. 

418, ff. 2-66 (Instructions to the Earl of Bridgewater, 1633). 
489 (The Estate of the Prince of Wales). 

4. Harleian AISS. 

141, ff. 2S-85 (Description of the Dominion of Wales). 

368, ff. 177-9 (Petitions to the Council). 

4898 (Inventory of Goods at Ludlow Castle and Bewdley House). 

5353 (Manninghara's Diary). 

6807, ff. 3-6 (Household of the Princess Mary). 

5^ Additio7ial MSS. 

Eg. 2345, Liber Pacis (giving the Commissions of the Peace for 
Wales and the Four Border Counties, with Cheshire and 
Warwickshire, the Sheriffs for Wales, and the Councillors 
in the Principality and the Marches of Wales). 

Eg. 2642, f. 2^26 (Names of the Council and Lords President of the 

Eg. 2642, f. 273<^ (List of Founders and Owners of Ludlow Castle). 

Eg. 2790, f. 12 (Instructions of 1574). 

Eg. 2790, f. 23 (Orders for the Council of the Marches of Wales). 

Eg. 2790, ff. 30 ei seqq. (Instructions for the Council of the North : 
Reference to Wales in §§ 11 and 44). 

14,905 (Commission for the Eisteddfod of October, 1567). 

14,907, f. 126 (Lists of Lords President). 

14,936, f. 52^ „ „ „ 

14,945, f. 10 

25,244 (Papers relating to the Jurisdiction of the Council of the 
Marches, 1 569-1612.) 

32,091, f. 107 (Malet Collection: Letter from Henry VIII. to the 
Duke of Buckingham). 

Royal MSS., 18, B. VII., f. 277 (Copy of Entry Book for the Trinity 
Term of 1617). 

Public Record Office. 

The following documents, in addition to the State Papers Domestic^ 
contain matter bearing on the Council of the Marches : 

Accounts, etc.. Exchequer Q. R. Rolls. 
Bundle 119, Nos. 5, 11, 12. 
,, 120, Nos. 8, 20. 
„ 533, Nos. 22, 24-6. 


Privy Council Office. 
The Council Register (MS. Volumes up to 1689). 

The Bodleian Library. 

Ashmolean MSS. 824, XXII. (Description of Various Courts of 

Clarendon MSS., Nos. 1475, 1485, 1535, 1538 (Committee for con- 
sidering the Jurisdiction of the Councils of Wales and the North). 

Tanner MSS., 91, 9, f. 137 (Objections to Instructions). 

,, ,, 91, 9, f. 138 (Criticism of the Bill of March, 1606, for 

the Better Explaining of 34 H. VIII., c. 26). 

The Bridgewater Trust Office, Walkden. 

Ludlow Castle Papers, passim. 
Welsh Council Papers, /aw?>«. 
Welsh Shrievalty Papers, Bundle 6. 

Books of Hearing for Hilary Term, 1632 (Nos. 35 and 36 in Welsh 
Council Papers). 

Books of Hearing for 1633 to 1640. 

Instructions to Lord Zouch and to the Earl of Bridgewater. 

Royal Papers, No. 88 (Forests). 

The Guildhall, Shrewsbury. 

The MSS. numbered as follows in the Calendar of the Borough 
Records : 

Box IX. 559; Box LXVIII. 2621, 2624, 2630; Box LXXVI. 2698, 
2700, 2702; Box LXXVII. 2761, 2762. 

The Record Room, Ludlow. 

Miscellaneous MSS. (Uncalendared) relating to the Council (Orders 
for Stay of Action in the Bailiffs' Court, etc.). 


(a) State Papers, Historical Collections, etc. 

Statutes at Large. 

Rolls of Parliament. 

Journals of the House of Lords. 

Journals of the House of Commons. 

Calendars of State Papers, Domestic Series, Henry VHI. to 

William HI. 
Calendars of Patent Rolls, Edward IV. to Richard HI. 
Issues of the Exchequer, by Frederick Devon. London, 1837. 
Rymer's Fcedera. 
Proceedings and Ordinances of the Privy Council of England, edited 

by Sir Harris Nicolas, 1834-7. 
Acts of the Privy Council of England. New Series (for the years 

The Paston Letters, 1422- 1509, edited by James Gairdner. London, 

Hall's Chronicle, ed. 1809 (reprint). 

Grafton's Chronicle, ed. 1809 (reprint from the 1569 edition). 
Holinshed's Chronicle, ed. 1586. 
Camden : Britannia, ed. 1772. 

Strype : The Life and Acts of John Whitgift, D.D. Oxford, 1822. 
Letters written by John Chamberlain during the Reign of Queen 

Elizabeth. Camden Society, 1861. 
John Manningham's Diary. Camden Society, 1868. 
Rushworth's Historical Collections, 1659. 

(/^) Other Works. 

Arguments proving the Jurisdiction used by the President and Counsell 
in the Marches of Wales over the Four English Counties to be 
Illegal, 1 64 1. 

Baxter : Reliquiae Baxterianae, 1696. 

Bentham : History of Ely, 1817. 

Biographia Britannica, 1778. 

Blount : Law Dictionary, ed. 17 17. 

Burton : History of Bewdley, 1883 

Cambria Triumphans, 1661. 

Cambrian Plutarch, by J. H. Parry, 1824. 

Cambrian Register, 1796-1818. 


Churchyard : The Worthines of Wales, ed. 1776 (reprint of the edition 

of 1587). 
Churton : Lives of William Smyth and Sir Robert Sutton, 1800. 
Clarendon: History of the Great Rebellion. Oxford, 1888. 
Clarendon: Life of, ed. 1759. 
Clark: Land of Morgan, 1880. 

Clark: Cartae et alia Munimenta de Glamorgan, 1885-93. 
Clark: Mediaeval and Military Architecture in England, 1884. 
Clive : Documents connected with the History of Ludlow, 1822. 
Coke : The Fourth Part of the Institutes of the Lawes of England 

concerning the Jurisdiction of Courts, Fourth edition, 1669. 
Coke : Book of Entries, 1614. 

Collins: Letters and Memorials of State (Sydney Papers), 1746. 
Cooper: AthenEe Cantabrigienses, 1858, etc. 
Cowell : The Interpreter or Booke containing the Signification of 

Words. Cambridge, 1607. 
Croke : Reports, ed. 1790-2. 
Crompton : L'Authoritie et Jurisdiction des Courts de la Majestie de 

la Roygne. London, 1594. 
Dictionary of National Biography. 
Dineley : Beaufort Progress, ed. 1888. 
Diurnall Occurrences or Dayly Proceedings of both Houses in this 

Great and Happy Parliament from November 3rd, 1640, to 

November 3rd, 1641. 
Doddridge (Sir John) : An Historical Account of the Ancient and 

Modern State of Wales, etc., ed. 17 14. 
Duncumb: History of the County of Hereford, 1804. 
Dyer: Reports, 1794. 
Edwards (Owen) : Wales, 1901. 
Eyton : Antiquities of Shropshire, 1854-60. 
Fuller : Worthies of England, 181 1. 
Lord Herbert of Cherbury: Autobiography, ed. 1886. 
Jones : History of Brecknockshire, ed. 1898. 

Leadam : Select Cases in the Court of Requests. Selden Society, 1898. 
Leland : Itinerary, ed. 1770. 
Lloyd (J. Y. W.) : History of the Princes, the Lords Marchers, etc., 

Lyson : Gloucestershire Antiquities, 1803. 
Madden : Privy Purse E.\penses of the Princess Mary, 1831. 
Madox : Baronia Anglica, 1741. 
Masson : Milton's Works, 1890. 
Morris (J. E.) : Welsh Wars of Edward I., 1901. 


Ormerod : History of Cheshire, ed. 1882, 

Owen and Blakevvay : History of Shrewsbury, 1825. 

Parliamentary Proceedings of the Long Parhament, 1651. 

Pennant : Tour in Wales, ed. 1883. 

Penry : Exhortation to the Governors and People of Wales, 1588. 

Phillips : Memoirs of the Civil War in Wales and the Marches, 1878. 

Powel: Historie of Cambria, 1584. 

Price (Sir John): Description of Wales, ed. 181 2. 

Prothero : Select Statutes and Other Constitutional Documents illus- 
trative of the Reigns of Elizabeth and James I., 1894. 

Reeves and Finlason : History of English Law to the Reign of 
Elizabeth, 1869. 

Rhys and Brynmor Jones: The Welsh People, 1900. 

Rudder: History of Gloucestershire, 1799. 

Scofield : A Study of the Court of Star Chamber. Chicago, 1900. 

Seyer : Charters and Letters Patent of Bristol, 181 2, 

Speeches and Passages of this Great and Happy Parliament, 1641. 

Spedding and Ellis: Bacon's Works, Vol. VH., 1872, 

Tanner: Bibliotheca Britannico-Hibernica, 1748. 

Verney : Notes of Proceedings in the Long Parliament. Camden 
Society, 1845. 

Vergil (Polydore) : Historia Anglica, ed. 1603. 

Warrington : History of Wales, 1823. 

Woodward : History of Wales, 1853. 

Wright (Thomas) : History of Ludlow, 1841-52. 

Wright (Thomas) : Historical and Descriptive Sketch of Ludlow Castle 
and Church, i86g. 

Wynn : History of the Gwydir Family, ed. 1776. 

Wynne : History of Wales, ed. 1812. 

Calendars, Periodical Publications, etc. 

Historical MSS. Commission Reports. 

Third Report, Appendix. MSS. of Lord de I'lsle and Dudley. 

MSS. of Whitehall Dod, Esq. 
Fourth Report, Appendix. Lord Bagot's MSS. 

,, ,, Lord Mostyn's MSS. 

Eighth Report, Appendix. Chester MSS. 
Tenth Report, Parts HI. and IV. Bridgenorth MSS. 

„ „ Mr. Lloyd Gatacre's MSS. 

„ „ Mr. Zachary Lloyd's MSS 

Eleventh Report, App. VII. Bridgewater MSS. 


Thirteenth Report, App. IV. Dovaston MS. 

Hereford MSS. 
Fifteenth Report, App. X. Shrewsbury MSS. 
Report on MSS. in the Welsh Language, Vol. I., 1898. Mostyn 
MSS., No. 158. 

Catalogue of MSS. relating to Wales in the British Museum, by 

Edward Owen, 1900. 
Calendar of the Records of the Corporation of Gloucester, 1893. 
Calendar of the Shrewsbury Borough Records, 1896. 
Worcestershire County Records. Quarter Sessions Rolls, Part II. 

Archaeologia, XXXVII. (Article by H. S. Milman on the Political 

Geography of Wales). 
Archaeologia Cambrensis, Vol. II., pp. 149, et seqq., and p. 335, et seqq,, 

Vol. III., pp. 66-8 (Proceedings of the Great Court of the Lordships 

of Bromfield and Yale in 1467). 
Cymmrodorion Society Publications. 

Y Cymmrodor, Vol. IX. [(Article on the Welsh Shires by 

Professor Tout). 

Y Cymmrodor, Vol. XII. (Article on the Court of the Marches, 

by Judge Lewis). 

Y Cymmrodor, Vol. XIII. (Further Notes on the Court of the 

Marches, by D. Lleufer Thomas), 
Cymmrodorion Record Series (George Owen's Description of 
Pembrokeshire, edited by H. Owen). 
Gentleman's Magazine, Vol. XCIII. (George Owen's Description of 

Shropshire Archaeological and Natural History Society Transactions, 
Second Series, Vols. I., II. (The Trained Soldiers of Shropshire 
in the Reign of Queen Elizabeth). 
Shropshire Archaeological and Natural History Society Transactions, 
Second Series, Vols. I., II., IV. (Ludlow Churchwardens' Ac- 
Society of Antiquaries, Collection of Ordinances for the Government 
of the Royal Household, 1790, 


P. 2, line 21, for ' Burleigh,' read ' Burghley.' 

P. 65, line 3, for ' or Place,' read 'o'r Plas,' i.e. of the Place or House. 

P. 76, line 2. This was written before I had the opportunity of reading the 

article by Mr. Llewellyn Williams in Y Cymiurodor, vol. xvi., on 

* A Welsh Conspiracy,' in which the story of Rhys ap Griffith is 

for the first time fully told. 
P. 78, line 8, for ' information given.' read ' information laid.' 
P. 86, line 6, for ' P'arl.' read ' Duke.' 

P. 96, line 3 from foot of page, for ' Sidney,' read ' Sydney.' 
P. 172, line 3, for ' Langharne,' read ' Laugharne.' 
P. 176, line 9, for 'July 4th, 1689,' read 'July 14th, 1684.' 
P. 183. Since this was written, some important excavations have been made 

at Ludlow Castle, which have thrown light on the original purpose 

of some of the existing buildings. 
P. 186, line 7 from foot of page, for ' wardrode,' read 'wardrobe.' 
P. 193, last line, ' Inckell ' is some kind of tape or braid. 
P. 214, line 25, insert ' and ' between ' lodging ' and ' utensils,' 
P. 256, line 13: for ' viligance,' read ' vigilance.' 


Council in the Marches 
of Wales 


Among the extraordinary Courts of the Tudor and Stuart 
periods special interest attaches to the " Court of the Council 
in the Dominion and Principality of Wales, and the Marches 
of the same." ^ Its history, extending over more than two 
centuries, throws much light on methods of government, and 
also on the social condition of the people within its jurisdiction. 
The Court was a means of ensuring order in districts long 
vexed by war, faction, and unpunished crime. It did something 
to render the union of England and Wales advantageous to 
both countries ; and in spite of many faults, it may be regarded 
as a fairly successful attempt to grapple with difficulties, the origin 
of which lay far back in the past. From a purely constitutional 
point of view it deserves closer study than it has hitherto 
received. Its relations w'ith the Privy Council, the Star Chamber, 
and the various local authorities, illustrate that development of 
both central and local government which especially characterizes 
the England of the Tudors. In the constitutional struggle 
of the seventeenth century the Court occupied some place, 

' For the various titles of the Court and Council, see Appendix I. 



owing to its conflicts with the Common Law Courts respecting 
jurisdiction, and its use as an instrument of personal govern- 
ment. Even after its partial abolition by the Long Parliament 
in 1 64 1, it continued to some extent up to the outbreak of 
the Civil War ; it was revived at the Restoration, and was 
not finally abolished till the first year of the reign of William 
and Mary. 

Much of what has just been said would apply with equal — in- 
deed, with greater — force to other extraordinary Courts, especially 
to the Star Chamber. But in one respect the Council of the 
Marches has an advantage over even that great tribunal — namely, 
in its associations with some of the most famous names of the 
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Of those who actually 
presided over the Council the most distinguished are Bishop 
Rowland Lee and Sir Henry Sydney ; but many other notable 
persons were in some way or other connected with its work. 
Several of these were of royal blood, as Prince Edward, afterwards 
Edward V. ; Prince Arthur, Henry VII. 's eldest and short-lived 
son; and the Princess Mary, who passed the happiest years, 
doubtless, of her life on the Welsh Border. Others were states- 
men, such as Lord Burleigh, whose extant memoranda show 
the minute care with which he supervised the Council's work. 
Others, again, were lawyers, such as Sir Thomas Englefield in 
Lee's time, William Gerard a generation later, and Bacon 
himself, who argued strongly in favour of the Council's juris- 
diction over the four Border counties. Lastly, with the Council 
are linked the names of Milton, Butler, and Baxter. Milton's 
Comus was acted in the Great Hall of Ludlow Castle, to 
celebrate the Earl of Bridgewater's entry on his office as Lord 
President. Butler wrote his Hudibras while steward of the 
castle and secretary to the Earl of Carbery, and Richard 
Baxter, in his autobiography, gives a vivid description of Ludlow 
town as he knew it, full of needy suitors and grasping clerks. 

To understand the conditions under which the Council existed, 
it is necessary to go back four centuries earlier than the date of 
its institution — to the time when the Norman barons found in 
the piecemeal conquest of Wales an outlet for the independence 


sternly denied them in England. Collision between the Welsh 
and Normans was inevitable ; the latter were simply following 
out the policy which the English Harold had begun. Four years 
after Senlac, Chester fell, and the completion of the conquest 
of England was the beginning of the conquest of Wales. This 
was not undertaken by the Norman kings ; they had neither 
time nor inclination for warfare in the rugged mountainous 
country, where success was doubtful and plunder scarce. The 
Conqueror was content to plant along the Welsh Border a 
line of castles for protection against invasion. In them were 
placed men who, with their Norman instinct for fighting and 
plunder, might be trusted to conquer Wales for their own profit. 
The task would be hard enough, he thought, to prevent them 
from growing over-powerful as against himself.^ 

The conquest of Wales naturally began from three distinct 
bases. Chester points to the region north of the Berwyn 
Mountains and west of Snowdon ; Shrew^sbury opens the way 
to Powys and the Upper Severn ; Hereford commands the 
entrance to the moorlands and valleys between Plinlimmon and 
the Black Mountains. At these three gates, therefore, William 
placed three of his ablest and most trusted followers : Hugh 
of Avranches, his own nephew, in Chester ; Roger of Mont- 
gomery, once regent of Normandy, in Shrewsbury ; William 
FitzOsbern, the best soldier at Senlac, in Hereford. Chester 
and Shrewsbury were counties palatine, and their rulers were 
to all intents and purposes independent. An outwork dependent 
on Chester was Rhuddlan, held by Hugh's man Robert. For 
a time the conquest went on apace under the earls and their 
followers. Castles were built, and near them in many cases 
grew up bourgs, where " Francigenae burgenses " {t'.e. Norman 
adventurers) lived in enjoyment of certain privileges as tenants 
of some great lord. These burgess rights, it would seem, were 
introduced by FitzOsbern from Breteuil in Normandy to Hereford, 
Shrewsbury, Ludlow, and elsewhere, whence in time they were 
passed on to Rhuddlan and Montgomery, Cardiff and Haverford- 

' For the earlier pages of this Introduction I am much indebted to Mr. 
Morris's Welsh Wars of Edward I. 


west.^ Then came a check. First the Welsh, by Viking aid, 
slew Hugh of Montgomery, Roger's second son, and regained 
Anglesey. His death left his elder brother, Robert of Belleme, 
the holder of immense possessions — the county palatine of 
Shrewsbury, the Earldom of Arundel, and broad lands in 
Normandy and Ponthieu. In the opening years of Henry I.'s 
reign Robert aimed at securing practical independence of the 
Crown. He was crushed ; his brother Arnulf, who had settled 
in Cardigan, fared no better, and the palatine Earldom of Shrews- 
bury ceased to exist. Henry had destroyed a dangerous rival, 
but at the same time he had checked Norman expansion to 
the west, except in so far as the Mortimers conquered along 
the Upper Severn. Meanwhile, the Earls of Chester had plenty 
of fighting against the Welsh ; castles were built, such as Mold 
and Hawarden ; sometimes Rhuddlan and Diganwy were 
occupied, but the Four Cantreds lying between the Dee and 
the Conway were not conquered. The reason for this seems 
to be partly geographical ; the strip along the northern coast 
between the mountains and the sea was so narrow that invaders 
had no cover from the Welsh, who held the mountain sides in 
force. Hence they could not advance up-stream along the 
Clwyd or the Conway, while their transport resources were 
inadequate for conquest by land.^ Another reason may be 
found in the jealousy with which the barons of the North Welsh 
Border were watched by the Crown after the fall of Robert 
of Belleme. If power was not to be gained by war, there was 
no incentive for them to fight against a troublesome foe. Doubt- 
less royal expeditions, such as those of Henry 11. and John, 
penetrated at times as far as Snowdon ; but they achieved 
nothing. The heavy feudal cavalry were lured into the mountains 
by the retreating Welsh, only to find themselves driven to with- 
draw through bad weather and lack of supplies. The result 
was that, owing to the geographical conditions and the lack of 
preparation for royal conquest by the independent action of 

' Articles by Miss Bateson in Eng. Hist. Review, 1900, especially pp. 76, 
302, 306, 307, 520 ; cf. Morris, pp. 4, 5. 
- Morris, p. 8. 


Lords Marchers, the Princes of Gwynedd were able to retain 
their independence, and the fortress of Snowdon came to be 
regarded as the centre of Welsh unity. 

In South Wales a different state of things prevailed. The 
Norman lords had in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire bases 
far superior to Chester, also a good route along the coast whence 
they could work up the valleys of the Wye, the Usk, the Taff, 
and the Towy. From the time of Rufus onwards the conquest 
of South Wales steadily progressed. The Lower Usk and the 
land of Morgan were secured by Robert Fitzhamon, Brecknock 
by Bernard of Newmarch, the Carmarthen coast by William 
de Londres, Pembroke by Arnulf of Montgomery. The last- 
named was crushed by the fall of his brother Robert of Belleme, 
but his place was taken by Henry L's friend, Gilbert de Clare, 
who built castles in Pembroke and Cardigan. His younger 
brother Walter settled on the Wye in Monmouth, where he 
founded Tintern Abbey. From the elder brother descended 
two branches, the Earls of Hereford and the Earls of Pembroke ; 
the marriage of his great-grandson, Richard de Clare, Earl of 
Hertford, with Amicia, heiress of Gloucester and Glamorgan, 
made him the most powerful of all the Marcher Lords. The 
younger branch, the Earls of Pembroke, held not only Pembroke 
itself, but the lands along the Wye and westwards towards the 
Usk. Other powerful families acquired Marcher Lordships, as 
that of Braose in Gower, and also (through marriage with the 
heiress of Bernard of Newmarch) in Brecknock and northern 
Monmouth. In the middle of the thirteenth century the Clare 
and Braose lands were divided. Those belonging to the younger 
branch of the Clares had passed to William the Marshal, husband 
of Strongbow's daughter Isabel, and thence to his three heiresses. 
In this way new families gained lands in the Marches — Valence, 
Norfolk, Cantilupe, Hastings, Bohun ; while the Mortimers 
of Wigmore, by acquiring Builth on the Wye, and St. Clears, 
west of Carmarthen, became powerful not only in Central, but 
also in South-West Wales. About the same time as the division 
of the Braose inheritance the March of Ewyas between Breck- 
nock and Herefordshire, held by the Lacy family, was also 


divided. Of the two heiresses, one married Geoffrey de Genevile 
(who obtained the lordship of Ludlow) ; the other, Theobald, 
de Verdun. On the southern coast, to the west of Gower 
(still held by a branch of the Braose family), was the March 
of Kidwelly, belonging to the Chaworths; further west was 
the March of Llanstephan, held by the Camvilles. To the 
north the Border was held by the Mortimers, along the Upper 
Severn ; the Fitzalans in Clun and Oswestry,^ the Corbets at 
Cawes, the I'Estranges in Ellesmere and Knockin. After 1237, 
by the extinction of the line of earls, Chester had reverted to 
the Crown. 

Between the days of William Rufus and those of Edward L 
grew up, slowly, indeed, but all the more surely, the famous 
" custom of the March." The position of the Lords Marchers 
was thoroughly anomalous as compared with that of the ordinary 
English baron. Their analogues must be sought, not in 
England, but in France, or, better still, in Germany, where the 
margraves held somewhat the same position against the Slavs 
as they did against the Welsh. For several reasons they re- 
ceived at the time of their conquests no charters defining their 
privileges. When the king granted to any noble such lands in 
Wales as he might win, it was impossible to fix any definite limits 
within which privileges might be exercised. Again, even after a 
lord had conquered Welsh territory, he had always to fear expul- 
sion, and would not be inclined to sue for a charter. Lastly, the 
powers exercised with a Lordship Marcher were " of soe high a 
nature, soe royall and soe united to y® Crowne, yt by the lawes 
of this land yt lay not in y® power of y® King to seuer y® same 
from his imperiall crowne." It seemed better, therefore, to allow 
the lords to exercise these powers on their own authority than to 
make a grant which would be of no effect. Within the lordships 
the king's writ did not run, but the lords had their own Courts 
and officers. A powerful lordship such as Glamorgan contained 
its own sheriffs, chancery, and chancellor. Great Seal, civil and 
criminal Court, where sentence of death could be passed. The 

' They, however, held by feudal tenure, not as Lords Marchers (Morris, 
p. 22). 


lords further enjoyed iura regalia, including rights to waifs, 
strays, infangthef and outfangthef, treasure-trove, deodands, goods 
of felons, wreck, wharfage, custom of strangers, and so forth. 
They also had a right to the goods of tenants dying intestate 
within their lordships, unless a special exemption had been 
granted. Further, they were permitted of their own absolute 
power to incorporate towns and boroughs without seeking leave 
or licence from the king. Feuds between Lords Marchers 
were decided in practice by private war, in theory by the 

If the above privileges were considerable, so also were the 
duties incumbent on a Lord Marcher. He was expected to keep 
his castle safe against Welsh attacks, and to be ready to serve 
the king in person with his vassals when called upon. Further, 
the conquests he made were carried on at his own expense. The 
contemporary records of the wars waged by Edward I. and 
Edward II. show what an important part was played by the 
Lords Marchers. They had far more military experience than 
the ordinary English baron, and their Welsh followers, especially 
the archers, proved of the utmost value. ^ 

Each Lord Marcher was a tenant-in-chief of the Crown ; at 
the same time he granted out manors to sub-tenants, who paid 
him the usual feudal dues. Some of his tenants held per 
baroniam ; others by grand or petty serjeanty, socage, or villein- 
age. Interference within a Marcher Lordship was only possible 
when a lord became so oppressive as to force his tenants in 
a body to appeal to the king for redress.^ The Lord of 

' George Owen's Treatise on the Government of Wales, Lansdovvne 
MSS. 216: cf. Madox, Baronia Anglica, pp. 154-6; Clark, Cartae et alia 
Munimenta de Glamorgan, Vol. IV., p. 253, and Land of Morgan, p, 15 ; 
Eyton's Shropshire, Vol. VII., p. 257. The usual description of a Lordship^ 
Marcher is " ubi breve regis non currit," or " ubi rex non apponit manum 
suam " (Eyton, Shropshire, Vol. XI., p. 247). 

* For the quotas recognised as due from the Lords Marchers in 1277,. 
see Morris, p. 62. 

^ E.g. the complaint of the tenants of Gower against Richard de Peshale 
and Alina his wife, heiress of William de Braose (Clark, Cartae, etc. 
Vol. I., pp. 279-82, Nos. CCLIX., CCLX.). 


Glamorgan at one time held, sede vacante, the temporalities of 
the Bishopric of Llandaff, and he was always patron of the 
principal abbeys and of the boroughs within his jurisdiction. 
When a Marcher Lordship was, by escheat or during a minority, 
vested in the Crown, the personal service due from the military 
tenants to the lord Avas not transferred to the Crown, but could 
be compounded for in money. Another noteworthy point in 
the relations of Marcher Lords to the Crown is this : In their 
case inquisitiones post mortem were held by the escheator of 
the next English shire adjoining their lordships, in virtue of 
a writ under the Great Seal issuing from the Chancery at 
Westminster.^ The Lords Marchers were not backward in asserting 
their privileges even against the king. In 1199 the Sheriff of 
Hereford, when ordered by the king's Court to take possession 
of Bradwardine Castle, protested his inability, it being outside 
his bailiwick. William de Braose, in whose land it lay, declared 
that neither king, sheriff, nor justice had any right to enter 
his liberty. 2 

The baronial war of the thirteenth century brings out clearly 
the position of the Lords Marchers; they held the balance of 
power between Llewelyn and the Crown, and sided with the 
one or the other according to their own interests. The accession 
of Edward I., which boded ill to the independence of Wales 
under Llewelyn, threatened equally the independence of the 
marcher lords. Even as Earl of Chester he had instituted at 
Carmarthen a County Court, to which the neighbouring lords 
were compelled to do suit and service. After his accession, 
he set himself to put the Marchers on the same legal footing 
as the Crown tenants in England. It was no easy task, 
for their help against the Welsh was indispensable, and even 
Edward had to walk warily. The strength of March privilege 

' E.g. the inqnisitio post mortem of Thos. Beauchamp, Earl of Warwick, 
directed to the escheators of Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, and the Marches 
of Wales, 20 Nov., 43 E, III., 1369 (Clark, Cartae, etc., Vol. IV., No. 

- Eyton's Shropshire, Vol. I., p. 235 (from Rot. Pip., 8 and 9 Ric. I., 


is seen in the oft-told story of John de Warenne, Earl of Surrey, 
who replied to the quo warranto writ which questioned his right 
to the lordships of Bromfield and Yale, by unsheathing an old 
rusty sword and crying, " Behold my title ! By this sword my 
forefathers, who came in with William the Bastard, obtained 
their lands, and by it will I hold and defend them against any 
who shall endeavour to dispossess me." Equally significant is 
the fact that in the Welsh wars the Lords Marchers hardly 
ever took the king's pay, and rarely went abroad or to 

The completion of the conquest of Wales in 1283 brought 
the question of March privilege to the front. Henceforth there 
was no independent Welsh territory left to conquer, for the royal 
power extended over the five shires of Anglesey, Carnarvon, 
Merioneth, Cardigan, and Carmarthen, as well as over Chester 
and Flint. The custom of private war, which had hitherto 
prevailed in the Marches, seemed to a law-loving king such 
as Edward an intolerable anachronism. He insisted on replacing 
it by legal process in the dispute between John GiiTard and 
the Earl of Hereford, and some years later in that between the 
Earls of Hereford and Gloucester. In both cases Edward gained 
his point, but he had a heavy price to pay in after years, when, 
in the fierce struggle over the confirmation of the charters, 
the proudest of the baronage were ranged against him. To 
the very end of his reign he was hampered in his attempt to 
conquer Scotland by baronial opposition dating from the 
Welsh wars.^ 

Although Edward was only partially successful in his attack 
on March privilege, yet his conquest of Wales meant that in 
the long run it would disappear. The Statute of Rhuddlan 
in 1284 gave English law and organization to the old Principality 
of Wales and its dependencies of the south. The three northern 
shires of Anglesey, Carnarvon, and Merioneth were placed under 

' Morris, p. 6i. 

^ For details, see Morris, pp. 202, 22o, et seqq. Cf. tlie process in Parliament 
between the Crown and William de Braose concerning the liberties of 
Gowersland, 28 E. I. (Clark, Cartae, etc., Vol. IV., No. MLXXIV., pp. 10-18). 


the Justice of Snowdon ; Flint was to be under the Justice of 
Chester, and Cardigan and Carmarthen under the Justice of South 
Wales. Sheriffs, coroners, and bailiffs were to be appointed 
for each shire. The conquered Welsh were to be kept down 
by castles such as Conway, Carnarvon, Criccieth, and Harlech 
in the north-west ; Kidwelly and Caerphilly in the south. 
Beneath them towns were built or restored, and received charters 
modelled on that of Hereford ; they were allowed to create a 
gild-merchant which monopolised the trade of the district. In 
some towns {e.g. Carnarvon and Conway) Welsh burgesses were 
excluded ; in others {e.g. Denbigh) they were admitted from the 
first. Between the newly conquered districts and the western 
shires of England lay the crescent-shaped March, extending 
from the Clwyd to the Dee, thence to the Severn, and thence 
round to the western sea.^ 

For the next two centuries no king had both strength and 
leisure to resume the campaign against March privilege which 
Edward I. had begun. The apprehension with which the Crown 
regarded the Marcher Lords may be inferred from the statute 
of 1354, enacting that they "shall be perpetually attending and 
annexed to the Crown of England, as they and their Ancestors 
have been in all times past, and not to the Principality of Wales, 
in whose hands soever the same Principality be or hereafter 
shall come." It was evidently felt that in case Wales ever came 
under an entirely separate government, the Lords Marchers 
might, without some such proviso, prefer to throw in their lot 
with Wales rather than England. That they were regarded with 
dislike by the neighbouring local authorities appears from a 

' The Statute of Rhuddlan (cl. 4) throws much light on the condition 
of Wales at the time ; the sheriff is to inquire, e.g., " of Mascherers that 
sell and buy stolen Meat knowingly ; of Whittawers, that is, those that 
whiten Hides of Oxen and Horses, knowing the same to have been 
stolen, that they may not be known again ; of Redubbers of stolen Cloths, 
that turn them into a new Shape and change the old one, as making 
a Coat or Surcoat of a Cloak and the like ; of them that shear Sheep 
bj- Night in the Folds, and that flay them and any other Beasts ; and 
of them that take and collect by Night the Ears of Corn in Autumn and 
carry them away." 


protest made by several of their number in the ninth year of 
Edward III. They complain that their tenants had been out- 
lawed to their impoverishment and the prejudice of their lords' 
franchises, and request that if such tenants can certify by record 
of Domesday or otherwise that offences committed by them 
were committed " outside the body of the county," a writ may 
be directed to the sheriffs and Justices for surcease of proceedings 
and reversal of outlawry. The lords, it is added, are ready 
to do justice to all suitors in their Courts. The king's answer, 
as might be expected, is not encouraging : " Let any who 
feels himself aggrieved, come to the Chancery and show his 
grievance, and he shall thereon have his remedy and right." ^ The 
chief holders of these privileges, the Mortimers, came to be 
themselves heirs to the crown of England. The heiress of 
another great Marcher family, Mary de Bohun, became the wife 
of Henry Bolingbroke and ultimately Queen. 

Henry's chief difficulties lay in Wales, where he had to face the 
national leader, Glendower, and Glendower's-son-in-law, Edmund 
Mortimer. But this peasant revolt was short-lived, and in 
Henry V.'s reign the social discontent which had been its cause 
was lessened by the departure of hundreds of Welsh mercenaries 
to serve in France. During the Wars of the Roses the power 
of the rival claimants to the throne lay in Wales and the 
Marches. From the great Mortimer estates, whose centre was 
Ludlow, the Duke of York drew his armies, while the west 
of Wales, from Pembroke to Anglesey, was strongly Lancastrian. 
For a generation the dreary dynastic struggle continued, reducing 
divided Wales to utter misery, till at last the Welshman, Henry 
Tudor, defeated the heir of the Mortimers on Bosworth Field. 

The condition of Wales and the Marches during these two 
centuries may to some extent be gathered from the Rolls of 
Parliament and the Statute Book. In the former are numerous 
complaints by the inhabitants of the Border counties against the 
people of Cheshire and the Welsh, especially those dwelling in 
the lordships marchers. Among the offences mentioned are kid- 
napping, felonies, trespasses, and unlawful distresses. The strong 
' Rolls II., p. 91 (9 E. III.). 


language of the petitions and the drastic measures proposed 
reveal clearly the hostility existing at that date between English 
and Welsh. The cautious replies by the king, and his refusal in 
some cases to adopt the remedies proposed, show that March 
privilege could not be lightly set aside.' 

A typical petition is that sent up in the thirteenth year of 
Richard II. by the counties of Gloucester, Worcester, Hereford, 
and Salop against the Welsh practice of kidnapping. They 
pray that the Justices of the Peace, sheriffs, and coroners, on 
hearing of such outrages, may send letters under their seals to the 
seneschals of the lordships where the offenders dwell, requiring 
due punishment and satisfaction, and that if this is not accorded, 
the seneschal may be held answerable to the king. The reply 
given was that the king would discuss the matter with the Lords 
Marchers and devise a fitting remedy.^ Similar petitions occur in 
every reign, especially those of Henry IV. and Henry VI. More 
striking than the recitals of general grievances are the petitions 
from individuals, especially in the first half of the fifteenth century. 
As an instance may be quoted the complaint of Robert Whitington 
and his son Guy, who were attacked on their way home from 
Hereford by about thirty men " armed and arrayed in manner 
of war," carried off to a mountain, robbed, and threatened with 
transportation into Wales, unless they gave sureties to cease and 
let fall all manner of personal actions against their captors " from 
the beginning of the world to the Feast of All Saints following." 
Guy Whitington was sent in search of the necessary securities, and, 
on providing them, was, together with his father, released.^ 

' Rolls II. sS^b, 397« ; III. Sib, 139, 201, 280, 295Z1, 3086, 391, 4746, 612a, 
and 6156; IV. 526, 69a, 3296; V. 15, 17, 53, 151^, 155«. Allowance must be 
made for exaggeration in these petitions ; we hear much of the outrages 
committed by the Welsh, and little or nothing of the oppression by which 
they were doubtless often caused. 

- Ibid., III. 2'j2b, 273rt. 

^ Ibid., IV. 99: cf. v., pp. 15, 17, and Wright's Ludlow, pp. 267, et seqq. 
A flagrant instance of Border turbulence is the conduct of Adam de Orleton 
(Bishop of Hereford), a partisan of Roger de Mortimer in 1321-2 — see Wright, 
ad loc. ; cf. Rymer (Record Edition), Vol. III., p. 126 (Commission in 1347 for 
inquiry respecting certain outlaws in Gloucestershire). 


The Statute Book contains a long list of laws against turbulence 
in Wales and the Border, based largely on the petitions referred 
to above. From the Statute of Gloucester in 1378, for more than 
a century, complaints occur of " routs and unlawful confederacies," 
forcible entry, rape, siege of houses, and overbearing of justices. 
The legislation of Henry IV. is marked by peculiar severity against 
the Welsh, forbidding them to become citizens or burgesses, or 
to purchase lands and tenements in any city, borough, or market 
town, or to hold any civic office. No Englishman was to be 
convicted by a Welshman ; an English burgess marrying a 
Welshwoman was to lose his franchise ; and no Welshman was 
to hold office under the king or be of the Council of any 
English lord. Other Acts recite how the Welsh retaliated on 
their English masters. "Sometimes by day and sometimes by 
night" they came within the counties adjoining the Marches 
of Wales, and took distresses of horses, sheep, and cattle, driving 
them away to the seigniories where they dwelt, and retaining 
them "till gree be made at their will." Traders coming out 
of the Border counties were arrested and sued " with intent 
to grieve them with divers outrageous amerciaments and costs." 
No better remedy could be devised at the moment than to 
allow the English to arrest persons and property coming out 
of Wales. The blame for the prevalent disorder was cast largely 
on the lords of the Marches, who were bidden to set " sufficient 
Stuffing and Ward in their Castles and Seigniories of Wales " 
to guard against its repetition. Later it was ordained that 
persons belonging to any seigniory of South Wales, and committing 
felonies or robberies, were to be taken to the gaol of the 
county where they were caught, or else charged to make satis- 
faction to the injured parties as ordered by the lord of the 
seigniory. The common practice of " disclaiming " was for- 
bidden — i.e, no felon was to evade the jurisdiction of the lord 
in whose territory he committed a crime on the plea that he 
was a native of another lordship.^ 

' Statutes of the Realm: i H. IV., c. i8; 2 H. IV., cc. 12, i6, 17, 18 
19, 20, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34; 9 H. IV., cc. 3, 4. Special 
exemptions from the statute debarring Welshmen from offices and 


Throughout Henry V.'s and Henry VI. 's reign statutes of 
the same character were passed to very Uttle effect. In 1449 
it is said that " riots, maims and murders " went unpunished, 
so that " the people of the said Parts daily abound and increase 
in evil Governance." The next year saw the outbreak of Cade's 
Rebellion, the prelude to the Civil War. Bad as the state of 
the Marches had been in time of nominal peace, it must hence- 
forth have been infinitely worse.^ This is certainly the impression 
given by the proceedings of the great Court of the lordships 
of Bromfield and Yale, held in 1467 at Castle Leon or Holt 
Castle before Commissioners appointed by the Duke of Norfolk 
and Sir Edward Nevill, Lord of Abergavenny. The purpose 
was to issue ordinances for the punishment of certain grave 
crimes committed with impunity within the lordship. The 
ordinances enjoined that livery was to be granted to menial 
servants only, that vagabonds were to quit the lordship by 
Hallowmas next, that no one was to carry weapons in any town, 
village, fair, or market unless he were waiting on an officer of 
the Court, and that assistance was to be given to such officers 
in the execution of their duty. Other ordinances dealt with 
the capture of thieves, the taxation of fines, and the duties of 
stewards and bailiffs, negligence and extortion being especially 
prohibited. The presentments that follow deal with murder, 
theft, assault, abduction, receiving of stolen goods, and similar 

Some idea of the strife and bloodshed that prevailed in Wales 

franchises were often granted as matters of special favour — e.g. Cal. Pat. 
Rolls, 8 E. IV., Pt, II., m. 26, p. 107. The ordinances of the Privy 
Council show the anxiety felt as to the condition of Wales and the 
Border in the fifteenth century — e.g. Sir Harris Nicolas, Vol. V., pp. 82 
92, 210-12. In 33 H. VI. the " Domini Marchearum " appear at the head 
of the committee /';-o Wallia (Rolls V. 280). 

' Ibid., 1 H. v., c. 6 ; 2 H. v., c. 5 ; 20 H. VI., c. 3 ; 25 H. VI. ; 28 H. VI., 
c. 4. 

^ Printed in Archaologia Canibycnsis, Vol. II., p. 147, et scqq., and p. 335, 
et scqq. and Vol. III., pp. 66-8; also in J. Y. W. Lloyd, History of the 
Princes, the Lords Marchers, and the Ancient Nobility of Powys Fadog, 
Vol. II., pp. 74-90. 


towards the end of the fifteenth century may be gathered from 
the History of the Gwydir Family, compiled by Sir John 
Wynn. We read in his graphic pages how the Earl of Pembroke 
consumed Llanrwst and all the Vale of Conway " to cold coals, 
whereof the print is yet extant, the very stones of the ruins of 
manie habitations, in and along my demaynes, carrying yet the 
colour of the fire." It is not surprising to read a little later 
on that "in those dayes in that wild worlde every man stood 
upon his guard and went not abroad but in sort and soe armed, 
as if he went to the field to encountre with his enemies." 
There was ample need, as shown by the story of the feud between 
Jevan ap Robert and Howell ap Rhys ap Howell Vaughan, one 
episode of which was Howell's attack on Jevan's house during 
the latter's absence at Carnarvon assizes. The house contained 
a large number of llawrudds, or outlaws, who, Wynn remarks, 
were kept by their friends as "very precious jewels," safe from 
the vengeance of the law. The attack was delivered early in 
the morning ; and as soon as the outlaws awoke they " betooke 
themselves to their weapons and bestirred themselves hand- 
somely." The leader in the defence was Jevan's wife, who 
" stood at the fireside lookeing on her mayd boyling of worte 
to make metheglyn, which seething worte was bestowed liberally 
among the assailants, and did helpe the defendants to thrust 
back them that were entered and afterward to defend the house." 
The attack continued all day and all night, till the following 
morning Howell's people retired discomfited, and he himself 
was advised by a kinsman, David ap Jenkin, to take Jevan as his 
brother-in-law, neighbour, and friend, " for," quoth David, " I 
will not be one with you to assault his house when he is at home, 
seeing I find such hot resistance in his absence." 

Equally troubled was the Ufe of Jevan's son Meredith, who, 
after living till he was twenty with his foster-father near Car- 
narvon, and marrying the daughter of the county sheriff, bought 
a lease of the Castle of Dolwyddelan, and there took up his 
abode. It was a wild place, once the home of an outlaw, who, 
after a year's exile in Ireland, had returned in the summer-time 
with a number of followers all clad in green. In true Robin 


Hood fashion they lurked by day and walked by night, for fear 
of adversaries ; the country folk who chanced to see them ran 
away, taking them for fairies. In Meredith's time the Conway 
Valley was troubled by a veritable "wasp's nest, a lordship 
belonging to St. John of Jerusalem called Spytty Jevan, which 
had privilege of sanctuary." Here the king's laws were of no 
force, thieves and murderers flocked thither, and for twenty miles 
round no spot was safe from their incursions. Meredith's friends 
might well ask why he was leaving his old home to dwell among 
the thieves and bondmen of Nantconway. His answer is char- 
acteristic of the times : " He should find elbow-room," he said, 
" in that vast country among the bondmen, and he had rather fight 
with outlawes and thieves than with his owne blood and kindred ; 
for if I live in mine own house in Evioneth (S.W. of Carnarvon- 
shire), I must either kill mine owne kinsmen, or be killed by 
them." Meredith did good service in extirpating outlaws and 
bandits, and died in peace and honour at Gwydir in 1525. But 
when he went to church on Sunday he always left his house 
at Penanmen (in Dolwyddelan) bolted and barred, and a watch- 
man stationed on a rock, whence both house and church were 
visible. Though guarded by twenty stout archers, he durst 
never go and return the same way to church or any other place 
through the woods, lest ambush should be laid for him.^ 

The slightest sketch of the condition of the Welsh Border 
in the Middle Ages is enough to show how urgent was the 
need of strong government. Many causes contributed to the 
wretched state of things existing in the fifteenth century. First 
and foremost was the age-long hatred between conqueror and 
conquered — a hatred which had grown fiercer than ever through 
the oppression that had undoubtedly marked English rule since 
the days of Edward I. Then there were the privileges of the 
Marcher Lords, which, however inevitable they had once been, 
were now regarded by all except the possessors as useless 
anachronisms. As far as the administration of justice went, 
Wales was a congeries of petty states in which no extradition 
treaties existed. Closely connected with these privileges was. 
' History of the Gwydir Family, />«ss«;«. 


the practice of livery, which continued to flourish in Wales 
long after it had died out in other parts of the kingdom. What 
was needed was some authority which should ensure the due 
punishment of crimes, and impartial justice even between men 
of differing race. Centuries before an attempt had been made 
to improve the condition of the Marches. Richard de Belmeis, 
Bishop of London, after the fall of Roger de Montgomery (once 
his patron), had been sent to Shropshire as the royal agent 
in the forfeited palatinate. The exact nature of his office is 
not clear : though called a sheriff, he was not one of the ordinary 
type, for he had a sheriff under him. It may be said, perhaps, 
that "he stood to Shropshire in the same relation in which 
the Justiciar stood to the whole of England in the absence of 
the King." His judicial decisions had equal authority with 
those of the king, and were recorded in regal style in letters 
patent. His jurisdiction extended beyond Shropshire into 
Staffordshire and possibly Herefordshire.^ An office similar in 
some respects to his was the Wardenship of the Marches, held, 
for example, by Fulk Fitzwarine at the time of Richard I.'s 
departure for the Holy Land,- and by Henry, Prince of Wales, 
during Glendower's rebellion. But this office, like that of the 
Wardenship of the Northern Marches, was military rather than 
judicial in character. No permanent improvement could be 
made until the powers of the Marcher Lords passed to the 
Crown, as to a large extent they had by the reign of Henry VII., 
who, through the death of Richard III., gained all the estates 
of the Earldom of March. He was able to carry out the 
repressive measures begun by Edward IV., who in this, as in 
many other respects, anticipated the policy of the Tudors. 

' Eyton's Shropshire, Vol. I., p. 245, and Diet. Nat. Biog., Vol. IV., pp. 

2 Wright's Ludlow, p. 61. 


UP TO 1525 

The early history of the Council of the Marches is obscure, 
owing to the disappearance of most of its records earlier than 
the reign of Henry VIII. No account of its origin has come 
down to us of an earlier date than the presidency of Sir Henry 
Sydney. Among the documents copied by Collins from the 
Sydney papers^ at Penshurst is one 1 bearing the following title : 
" Collections made by Sir Henry Sydney, Knight of the Garter, 
Lord President of the Marches of Wales. Touchinge the 
Antiquitie, Aucthoritie and Jurisdiction of the Lord President 
and Councell of the Marches of Wales and touching the authority 
of the Lord President when he hath not been in Place with 
the Councell." From the concluding words it may be con- 
jectured that the document was drawn up about the year 1565, 
when Sydney was appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland. The 
institution of the Council of the Marches is described in the 
following terms : " The Lorde President and Counsail of the 
Domynion and Pryncipallitie of Wales and the Marches of 
the same, were established in the Tyme of Kinge Edward Illlth. 
and ever sythens, untill the Making of the Statutes of An. 27, 
30j 33j 34 of Hen. VIII had Contynuance. Who before that 
Time, by Commissions and Instruccions from the King harde 
and determyned Causes arrising within that Pryncipallitie, as also 
in the County of Worcester, and other English shires adjoining. 
And have since the making of those Statutes, by Commission 
and Instruccion, likewise hard and determyned Causes ; taking 

' Collins, Letters and Memorials of State, p. i . 


the Benefit of that Statute in further Strengthnyng of their 
Aucthoritie. And thereby the hole Countrey of Wales have 
been, by the Government of the same Lord President and 
Counsaill, sythens the establishment of the same, brought from 
their disobedient, barbarous, and (as may be termed) lawless 
Incivihtie, to the civil and obedient Estate they now remayne. 
And all the English Counties, bordering thereon, brought to 
be affrayed from such spoyles and Felonyes as the Welsh before 
that Tyme, usually by invading their Borders, annoyed them 

Some further details may be gathered from Bowel's History 
of Wales, published in 1584.^ It is here stated that " Edward 
the Fourth, in his wars against Henry the Sixth, was very much 
assisted by the Welsh ; in recompence of which service, he 
designed to reform matters so in Wales as that intolerable 
oppression, which they had hitherto endured, should be regulated 
and taken off. And to that end, he meant to establish a court 
within the said principality, and constituted John, Bishop of 
Worcester, president of the prince's council in the marches ; 
who, together with Anthony, Earl of Rivers, sat in the town-hall 
of Shrewsbury, and constituted certain ordinances for the public 
good and tranquillity of that place. But the matter proceeded 
no farther ; for the troubles and disquietness of his kingdom, 
coming heavy upon him, and the shortness of his reign after 
his establishment not permitting, he was forced to leave that 
to others which himself thought once to bring about." Much 
the same account is given by William Gerard (a prominent 
member of the Council during Sydney's Presidency), who sketched 
its origin in certain discourses addressed to Walsingham in 1575.^ 

From these notices we may gather that a Council in the 
Marches originated during the reign of Edward IV., but was not 

' Wynne's edition, i8i2, p. 324. 

- State Papers Domestic, Elizabeth, Vol. CVII., Nos. 4-15 (calendared in 
the volume for 1547-80). Large parts of these discourses are printed in 
the valuable article on the Court of the President and Council of Wales 
and the Marches from 1478 to 1575, by Judge Lewis, in Vol. XIL of 
Y Cymmrodor (1897). 


made a permanent institution till the reign of Henry VII. ^ It 
was clearly a development of the Council attached to the Prince 
of Wales. A document of Henry VIII. 's reign,^ entitled a 
"Table of the councillors of the princes of Wales," gives the 
following list of princes who had a Council assigned them : 
Edward, the eldest son of Edward I. ; Edward the Black Prince ; 
Henry, the eldest son of Henry IV. ; Edward, the eldest son of 
Henry VI. ; Edward, the eldest son of Edward IV. ; Prince Arthur 
and Prince Henry, the sons of Henry VII. ; and, lastly, the Lady 
Mary. Of these, the first who had a Council to govern in the 
Marches is stated to be Edward, the eldest son of Edward IV. 
The entry relating to him runs thus : 

" Edw. eldest son of Edw. IV. 

" I. The Queen. 2. Archbishop of Canterbury. 3. Duke of 
Clarence. 4. Duke of Gloucester. 5. Bishop of Bath and Wells. 
6. Bishop of Durham. 7. Lord Ryvers. 8. The Abbot of 
Westminster, Chancelor to ye Prince. 9. Sir William Hastings. 
Lord Chamberlain to ye King. 10. Richard Fynes, Lord Dacre's 
steward, ii. Sir John Fog, Knight. 12. Sir John Scott. 13. 
Tho. Vaughan, chamberlain to ye Prince. 14. John Alcott 
[i.e. Alcock]. 15. Rich. Fowler. Theis Councelors were as- 
signed unto him untill 14 yeers of age to assist him in dis- 
posing and guyding of his estate. And he had allso a Councell 
to gouern in the Marches of Wales, whereof the Bishop of 
Worcester [i.e. the John Alcock above mentioned] was Precedent." 

This list was evidently copied from the letters patent of 
July 8th, II E. IV., which is quoted by Doddridge in his 
Historical Account of the Ancient and Modern State of the 
Principality of Wales, etc. (2nd edition, London, 1714, p. 24). 

Early in the seventeenth century, when the Council's jurisdic- 
tion over the Border counties was being called in question, 
several lists of Lords President were drawn up, with a view 
to show that the Council had existed long before the Act of 

' See Gerard's statement, summarised by Judge Lewis in the above- 
mentioned article, p. 18. 

^ Gairdner, Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VIIL, Vol. XIV., 
Pt. L, 518. 


Union passed in 1536. Such a list occurs in Cottonian MSS., 
Vitellius, C. i., f. 191 ^; it is headed by the names, "The Earle 
Riuers " and " lohannes Ep'us Wigorn," both under date 18 E. IV. 
Little reliance can be placed on matters of detail in a list 
compiled about a century and a quarter after the institution of 
the Council.^ Other lists drawn up about thirty years later 
(during the Presidency of the Earl of Bridgewater in Charles L's 
reign) are obviously incorrect, for John, Bishop of Worcester, 
appears as beginning office in 1485 (i H. VII.), and Anthony 
Wenfoile (sic), Lord Rivers, is put down for 17 H. VII., 1492. 
This last startling statement has evoked from some reader of the 
MS. an indignant pencil comment, "Impossible, he was dead 
long before."^ 

On the authority of the first-mentioned list, the date 18 
E. IV. or thereabouts has usually been given by those modern 
writers who have dealt with the origin of the Council of 
the Marches.^ The ultimate authority would appear to be a 
document among the Shrewsbury MSS., bearing date April loth, 
1478 (18 E. IV.). A copy occurs among the Cottonian MSS., 
Vitellius, C. i., f. 2. It recites that on April loth, in the 
eighteenth year of King Edward IV., the Lord Bishop of 
Worcester, President, and Lord Antony, Earl Rivers, governor 
to the lord prince, and others of the prince's Council, being 
in the town hall of Shrewsbury,^ ordained certain ordinances to 
be made and observed within the said town from henceforth. 
The bailiffs were to execute their office " truly and endifferently." 

' Judge Lewis (Y Cymmrodor, XII., p. 23, footnote) points out that 
Clive, in his History of Ludlow, p. 150, quotes this document wrongly 
as f. 2556, which is a mistake for 2556, the old numbering of f. 1 91, and 
further confuses it with Lansdowne MSS. 255, f. 422a, 

^ Brit. Mus. Add. MSS., 14907, f. 126 ; 14936, f. 52* ; 14945, f. 10. Of 
these, the third gives the dates for the Presidencies of the Earl of Pembroke, 
Gilbert Bourne, and Sir Henry Sydney, omitted in the other two lists. 
With this exception the lists correspond. 

^ He was executed on June 25th, 1483. 

■* E.g. Judge Lewis in the article referred to above. 

* Judge Lewis points out Clive's error in inserting " Ludlow " after the 
words "in the Town Hall aforesaid" on p. 151 of his History of 


If they saw any person come into the town and abide two days 
suspiciously without any lawful errand or occupation, they were 
on the third day to put him in prison, " there to remayne till he 
have found surety of his good abearinge, or else to avoid the 
town." A negligent bailiff was to be fined ;^ioo, half of which 
was to go to the king and half to the town. The wardens 
and "four men " of the various crafts were empowered to commit 
men to prison, and the bailiffs were not to release such prisoners 
without their consent. The wardens and four men were to 
make regulations for the craftsmen, and those refusing to obey 
were to be put out of the craft and banished the town. 
Negligence on the part of the wardens was to be punished by 
a fine of ;^2o, half of which was to go to the king and half 
to the town. It should be noted that the document contains 
absolutely nothing to prove that the Council, over which Bishop 
Alcock presided, originated in 1478 ; the letters patent of 
July 8th, II E. IV., are conclusive evidence that it was appointed 
in 147 1. We may conjecture that those in the seventeenth 
century who upheld the authority of the Council of the Marches 
were eager to seize on any dated record of its work, and jumped 
to the quite unwarranted conclusion that it began in 1478. 

When, however, we turn to the biographies of Bishop Alcock, 
we find in most cases, not 1478, but 1476, given as the date 
of his appointment to the Presidency of the prince's Council. 
The latter date is given by Tanner in the Bibliotheca Britannico- 
Hibernica, and repeated on his authority in the Biographia 
Britannica.^ Cooper, in the Athense Cantabrigienses, writes : 
"In 1476 he [Alcock] was translated to Worcester, and became 
Lord President of Wales, being apparently the first occupant of 
that office." He adds later, however, a correction to the effect 
that the appointment as Lord President was made in 1478.^ 
How much reliance need be placed on Tanner's statement is 
shown by his insertion, without a word of comment or correction, 

' Tanner, Bibliotheca Britannico-Hibernica, ed. 1748, pp. 23, 24; Bio- 
graphia Britannica, ed. 1778, Vol. I., pp. 119, I20. The date 1476 is also 
given in the article on Alcock in Diet. Nat. Biog. 

* Cooper, Athenae Cantabrigienses, Vol. I., pp. 3, 519. 


of the following quotation from Antony Wood, MS. Glyn : 
"et tandem A. MCCCCLXXXVI (i486) Eliensis episcopus et 
prseses consilii regis Edwardi IV." The detailed notice of 
Alcock in Bentham's History of Ely gives the date of his Welsh 
appointment as 1478.^ It would seem that the date 1476 is 
just as conjectural as 1478, being based apparently on the 
date of Alcock's translation to the See of Worcester in the 
former year. No doubt Alcock may have been more active 
in the affairs of the Principality and the Marches after 1476, 
but the Patent Rolls and other evidence show that even before 
that date they must have occupied a considerable share of 
his attention. 

The biographers of Alcock are all loud in his praise. Fuller 
writes that " his prudence appeared in that he was preferred Lord 
Chancellor of England by King Henry the Seventh, a prince of 
excellent palate to taste men's abilities, and a Dunce was no dish 
for his diet." Even Bale's bitter pen " drops nothing but honey 
on his memory, commending him for a most mortified man, 
given to learning and Piety from his Childhood, growing from 
grace to grace so that in his age none in England was higher for 
holiness." ^ He was successively Bishop of Rochester, Worcester, 
and Ely, but is best remembered as the founder of Jesus College, 
Cambridge. He also endowed Peterhouse and restored Great 
St. Mary's, Cambridge. The cathedral and episcopal palace of 
Ely, and the church of Little Malvern, owed much to his lavish 
generosity. Another work of his connected with the Marches 
was the foundation, in 1484, of a chantry in the parish church of 
St. Lawrence, Ludlow, in conjunction with Agnes, Edward, and 
John Beaupie.^ On Edward IV.'s death, the Protector Richard 
removed him from the office of preceptor to the young King 
Edward V. In i486 he was translated from Worcester to Ely, 
and in the same year he christened Prince Arthur. In 1500 he 
died at Wisbech, and was buried in Ely Cathedral. Barclay, in 

' Bentham, History of Ely, Vol. I., p. 182. 
- Fuller, Worthies of England, ed. 1811, Vol. II., p. 521. 
3 Pat. Rolls, 2 Ric. III., Pt. I., m. 16 (Cal., p. 473); cf. Churchyard, 
Worthines of Wales, ed. 1776 (reprint), p. 78. 


his Eclogues, has a quaint elegy on the dead prelate, con- 
cluding with these lines : 

"The mightie walls of Ely monastery 
The stones, rocks and towres semblably 
The marble pillours and images eche one 
Swete all for sorrow, when this Cocke was gone." ' 

The most trustworthy information on the origin and work 
of the prince's Council is contained in the Patent Rolls of 
Edward IV. from the year 147 1 onwards. In that year the fifteen 
persons enumerated above were appointed as administrators of 
the Principality of Wales, the Duchy of Cornwall, and the county 
of Chester for the Prince of Wales, till he should reach the age 
of fourteen years. A proviso was added that they should grant 
no office for life or for a term of years, but only during the 
pleasure of the prince.^ The prince was then aged nine months, 
having been born on November 2nd or 3rd, 1470 ; he had already 
been created Prince of Wales on June 26th, 147 1. A year and 
a half later, in February, 1473, ^ larger Council was appointed 
(twenty-five in number), with the following extensive powers : " to 
administer his possessions within the principality of Wales, the 
duchy of Cornwall, the counties of Chester and Flint and else- 
where, to grant licences for ecclesiastical elections, to receive 
fealties, to present to churches and other benefices, to dispose 
of custodies of lands and marriages of heirs, to grant pardons, to 
appoint and remove stewards, sheriffs, bailiffs, reeves, chamber- 
lains, escheators and other ministers and officers, and to grant 
letters patent, providing that no office shall be granted for life 

' Quoted from Clive's History of Ludlow, 152; cf. Bentham's History of 
Ely, Vol. II., pp. 98, 99, quoting also from Barclay: 

" He all was a Cock, he wakened us from slepe, 
And while we slumbered, he did our folds kepe." 

Cf. Ibid., Vol. I., p. 183 : "His device was a Cock, of which allusion to his 
Name he was extremely fond ; as appears by his placing the figure of that 
Bird with moral Sentences upon Scrolls in almost every part of the pnblick 
buildings which he erected." 

- Pat. Rolls, II E. IV., Pt. I., m. I, July Sth, 1471 (Cal., p. 283). 


or for a term of years, but during the pleasure of the said 
prince only." ^ 

By 1473 the prince had already been sent down to the Border 
with his mother, for on April 2nd of that year Sir John Paston 
wrote to his brother : " Men sey the Qwyen with the prince shall 
come owt off Walys and Kepe thys Esterne with the Kyng at 
Leycetr, and some seye nowther off them shall com then" ^ In 
the September following, Alcock was given a position of special 
prominence among the councillors of the prince. Ordinances 
were then published for the " virtuous guiding of the young child 
and the good rule of his household," and the task of supervision 
was confided to Alcock and Rivers.^ Rivers was especially 
entrusted with the care of the prince's person, and minute indeed 
are the regulations deaUng with worship, study, meals, and play. 
At mealtimes were to be read to him "such noble storyes as 
behoveth to a Prince to understande," and the persons appointed 
to attend him all night were " to inforce themselves to make 
him joyoux and merry towardes his bedde." That Alcock 
was regarded as the earl's colleague in the care of the prince 
may be seen from the following ordinance : " Item, we will that 
the generall receavor of the Dutchie of Cornewall, the chamber- 
layne of Chester and Flynte, the chamberlayne of North Wales, 
the chamberlayne of South Wales, at dayes and tymes due and 
accustomed bringe in all such sommes of money as then shal be 
due unto our said sonne, and to deliver yt unto his Counsayle 
attendinge upon him ; and the sayde money to be put into a 
cheste unto three Keyes, our dearest wife the Queene to have one, 
the bishopp of Rochester and the Earle Ryvers to have the 

' Pat. Rolls, 12 E. IV., Pt. II., 111. 21, February 20th, 1473 (Cal., p. 366). 
The names added are: "The Bishop of Carlisle, John Earl of Shrewsbury, 
Walter Devereux of Ferrers, Knt., John Nedeham, Knt., Richard Chokke, 
Knt., Master John Martyn, clerk, William Alyngton, Richard Haute, John 
Sulyard and Geoffrey Coytemore." Alcock appears in each list : in the second 
as J. Bishop of Rochester; in the former as " Master John Alcock." 

2 Paston Letters, ed. Gairdner, Vol. III., p. 83, No. 721, April 2nd, 1473. 

^ Collection of Ordinances and Regulations for the government of the 
royal household, made in divers reigns from King Edward III. to King 
William and Queen Mary. Published by the Society of Antiquaries, 1790. 


other twoe, and alwaye the receyte of the same money to be 
entred in a booke, and in Hkewise the paymente of all such 
charges as of necessytie muste needes be borne for our sayde 
Sonne, and that our sayde sonnes signette be put into the sayde 
cofifre, and not to be occupyed but by the advise of his Counsayle." 
A later entry in the Patent Rolls for 1473 fixes the date of 
Alcock's appointment as president. On November loth is the 
entry of his appointment as teacher of the king's son the prince, 
that he may be brought up in "virtue and cunning, and as 
president of his council." ^ 

Some notices extant in the Patent Rolls may serve to show 
the kind of work done by the prince's Council as a body or by 
individual members. In 1474 a Commission was issued to Earl 
Rivers and ten other persons (including Walter Devereux of 
Ferrers, Knt., and the Sheriff of Hereford) to array the king's 
lieges of the county of Hereford against five persons who did 
not appear before the king and Council when summoned to 
answer for divers offences committed by them in Wales and the 
Marches, but withdrew to Wales, and there stirred up insurrection. 
The persons commissioned were to arrest them, their aiders and 
abettors, put them in safe custody, and give assistance against 
them to the prince when required by him or his Council. ^ 
Important entries occur in the year 1476, showing the efforts 
made by the king towards the better government of the Marches. 
In January a general Commission of oyer and terminer was 
granted to the Prince of Wales within the counties of Salop, 
Hereford, Gloucester, and Worcester, and the Marches of Wales 
adjacent, and Wales, with power to array men-at-arms, archers, 
and others if necessary, and with authority to substitute other 
persons for himself, provided that one of the Justices of either 
bench should be one of those thus substituted in the said 
counties.^ This was followed in February by a Commission to 

' Pat. Rolls, 13 E. IV., Pt. I., m. 3, 1473, November loth (Cal., p. 401). 

■^ Ibid., 13 E. IV., Pt. II., m. \0d, 1474, February 26th (Cal, p. 429). A 
Commission similar to the above was issued to Earl Rivers and five persons, 
including the Sheriff of Gloucester, and another to the earl and eleven 
persons, including the Sheriff of Shropshire. 

3 Ibid., E. IV., 1476, January 2nd (Cal., p. 574). 


the prince and his Council to be at Ludlow on March 24th, to 
discuss with the Lords of the Marches (to whom the king had 
written separately) the ways and means for the punishment of 
many homicides, murders, robberies, spoliations, and oppressions 
in Wales and the Marches of the same, for which the king was 
going in person to those parts after Easter.^ Closely connected 
with this Commission was the appointment, on March i6th, of the 
prince and such persons as by the advice of his Council he might 
substitute, to inquire about all liberties, privileges, and franchises 
in the counties of Salop, Hereford, and Gloucester, and the 
Marches of Wales adjacent, which should be taken into the 
king's hands, and all escapes of robbers and felons in the same 
counties and Marches.^ Lastly, in December, the power was 
granted to the prince of appointing Justices of oyer and terminer 
in the counties of Salop, Hereford, Gloucester, and the Marches 
of Wales adjacent, provided that one of the king's Justices of one 
or other bench were one, and saving to the king the amercements 
belonging to him ; he was also empowered to array the men of 
those parts, if necessary, for the punishment of malefactors, and 
to hear and determine inquiries into the exercise of offices in 
those parts. ^ 

' Pat. Rolls, 1476, February 23rd (Cal., p. 574). 

- Ibid., li.ld, March i6th (Cal., p. 605). 

^ Ibid., 16 E. IV., Pt. II., m. 22 (Cal., p. 5). 

It is of some interest, in connection with Henry VIII. 's legislation, to 
note how grants of Marcher Lordships were worded at this time. In 1462 
Edward IV. granted to Richard, Duke of Gloucester, the lordship of Chirk, 
"with knights' fees, fealties, advowsons, franchises, liberties, customs, wards, 
marriages, reliefs, suits, escheats, year, day, and waste, stray, soc and sac, 
tholl and them, infangtheff and outfangtheft", sheriff's turns, wreck of sea," 
etc., etc. (Pat. Rolls, 2 E. IV., Pt. II., .September 9th, 1462, Cal., p. 228). A 
more detailed grant is that made in 1465 to the stout Yorkist partisan. Sir 
William Herbert, for his services against the Welsh Lancastrians : " And 
the said William and his heirs and assigns shall have within the said limits 
all royal rights, prerogatives and customs belonging to royal lordships and 
all royal courts and other jurisdictions, powers, and authorities, as in any 
other royal lordship in Wales or the marches of Wales, with all fines, 
amercements, issues and profits from the same before their stewards at 
Raglan, with power of oyer and terminer, an authentic seal for commissions 
writs and warrants, and power of appointing justices to hold sessions in 


There is but little more that can be said as to Alcock's work 
in the Marches, save that his name appears frequently on Com- 
missions of the peace in the Border counties,^ and that in 1483 
he was on the Commission for assessment of a subsidy in the 
counties of Worcester, Hereford, and Gloucester.^ In 1487 he 
and Earl Rivers were granted custody of "all castles, lordships, 
towns, manors, lands, rents, services, possessions, and heredita- 
ments, with advowsons of churches, chapels and chantries ex- 
ceeding the tax of twenty marks, knights' fees, franchises, liberties, 
warrens, courts, leets, cantreds, commotes, and other commodities 
late of Edward Charlton, knt., late lord of Powys, tenant-in- 
chief." 3 

From the scanty evidence extant, the following inferences may 
fairly be drawn: First, that the Council, appointed in 147 1 to 
administer the Prince of Wales's possessions, received by com- 
mission from the king considerable judicial and military powers 
in Wales and the Marches. Secondly, that Edward IV. fully 
realised the necessity of curtailing the privileges of the Marcher 
Lords, so as to secure the due punishment of offenders.^ Thirdly, 

eyre and other sessions and courts, and they shall have chattel of felons, 
fugitives and outlaws, deodands, escheats and forfeitures, as the King has 
in the said lordships of Usk and Monnemouth or as Richard Earl of 
Warwick and Anne his wife have in her right in the manor and lordship 
of Bergevenny, or the lord of any other royal lordship in Wales, and no 
justices, stewards, escheators, coroners, ringilds, or other officers or ministers 
of the King shall interfere." All the lands comprised in the above grant 
were to form one royal lordship of Raglan, held in chief by the service of 
one knight's fee. The tenants and residents within its limits were ex- 
onerated from suits and attendance at the king's courts within the lordship 
of Usk and Monmouth (Pat. Rolls, 5 E. IV., Pt. I., m. 22, 1465. March 9th, 
Cal., p. 425). 

' He is mentioned in the Commission for Gloucestershire seven times, for 
Herefordshire six times, for Shropshire seven times, for Warwickshire five 
times, and for Worcestershire seven times: the earliest Commission con- 
taining his name is that of 1473, the latest that of 1485 (Cal. Pat. Rolls, 
E. IV,, E. v., and Ric. III.). 

" Pat. Rolls, E. v., m. ^d, 1483, April 27th, Cal., pp. 354-5. 

3 Ibid., 18 E. IV., Pt. II., m. 17 (Cal., p. 130). 

* Hall in his Chronicle says that Prince Edward was sent by his father 
" for justice to be doeen in the Marches of Wales, to the end that by the 


that there is no contemporary evidence for the appointment of 
Bishop Alcock as Lord President of the Council in the Marches ; 
his appointment in 1473 was as President of the prince's Council. 
Lastly, it does not appear that anything more than a beginning 
was made in the work of reducing the Marches to order ; nor is 
this surprising when we consider the troubled course of Edward's 
reign. The definite establishment of the Council in the Marches, 
properly so called, was the work not of Edward IV., but of 
Henry VII. 

On the accession of Edward V. and his departure from Ludlow 
in 1483, it may be doubted whether the Council of the Marches 
did not for a while fall into abeyance. No record of it occurs 
till the reign of Henry VII., who, as a Welshman and as owing 
his crown largely to AVelsh help, was naturally anxious to improve 
the condition of Wales and the Marches. In the early years 
of his reign various Commissions were issued — e.g. to Sir William 
Stanley, Justice of North Wales, and Jasper, Duke of Bedford, 
Justice of South Wales, to hear and determine causes in Wales 
and the Marches thereof.^ In 1491 Sir Reginald Pole, Constable 
of Harlech Castle and sheriff for life of Merioneth, was sent 
into the Principahty and Marches of Wales with offers of the 
king's grace and pardon to all persons guilty or suspected of 

In the ninth year of Henry VII. 's reign, the prince's Council 
is once more mentioned. The occasion was a quarrel 
between the towns of Bewdley and Kidderminster, and the 
order given on January 31st, 9 H. VII., was that the feud should 
cease, and that all future differences should be brought before 
the prince and his Council, whose award was to be final. ^ 

Among the signatures appended to the award is that of John 
Alcock, now Bishop of Ely. Prince Arthur, who was born in 

authoritie of hys presence the wilde Welshemenne and evill disposed 
personnes should refrain from their accustomed murthers and outrages " 
(cf. Grafton, Vol. II., p. 83, ed. 1809). 

' Cottonian MSS., Cleopatra, c. iii., f. 380, and Pat. Rolls, i H. VII., 
February 28th (quoted by Churton, Life of Bishop Smyth, pp. 57, ct. seqq.^. 

- History of Bewdley, by J. R. Burton, p. 33 (quoted from Blakeway 


i486, had already at the age of six been made Guardian of the 
Kingdom.^ Soon afterwards he was included, with Archbishop 
Morton, Bishop Smyth, and others, in the Commission of the 
Peace for the county of Warwick. On March 20th, 1492-3, he was 
constituted his majesty's Justice in the counties of Salop, Hereford, 
and Gloucester and the Marches of Wales adjoining, to inquire 
of all liberties, privileges, and franchises possessed or claimed 
by any person, which were to be seized into the king's hands, 
and of all escapes and felons. These inquisitions, taken from time 
to time, were to be certified into the Chancery. The same 
Commission gave him power to substitute proper persons under 
him for the better fulfilment of his trust. It is probable that 
at this time a Council was appointed for Prince Arthur, but 
no definite proof can be adduced.^ 

Some information as to the Council's proceedings at this time 
is to be found in the Shrewsbury MSS., which show that Prince 
Arthur and his Council often visited the town from 1494 onwards, 
and were entertained at the expense of the burgesses.^ A letter 
from the Council to the bailiffs of Shrewsbury probably belongs 
to this period. It is headed " By the Prince," and concludes 
with the formula used by the Council in its letters : " Yeven 
under o" Signet at the Castell of Ludlow the Vth day of 
Deccmbr." The Council ask the bailiffs to redress a nuisance 
affecting the Dominican priory at Shrewsbury. 

In 1 501 the prince was married at St. Paul's to Catherine of 
Aragon, and, according to Powel, went soon after his wedding 
into Wales with Doctor William Smyth, as President of his 
Council.^ The members of the Council numbered ten.^ Smyth, 

> Rymer, Foedera, ed. 171 1, Vol. XII., pp. 487-8. 

^ So Churton, Life of Bishop Smyth, p. 60. 

^ Shrewsbury MSS., Box LXXVI., No. 2761 ; and Owen and Blakeway, 
History of Shrewsbury, Vol. II., p. 449. 

■• Clive, History of Ludlow, p. 153. 

^ They were : Sir Henry Vernon, Sir Richard Crofts Sir David Philips, 
Sir William Udall, Sir Thomas Englefield, Sir Peter I^ewton, Sir Richard 
Pole, John Wilson, Henry Marian, Charles Bothe (Churton, Life of Bishop 
Smyth, p. 63). The same names, though in a different order and with 
differences of spelling, are given in Gairdner, Letters and Papers of the 


Bishop of Lincoln, is chiefly remembered as the founder of 
Brasenose College, where a portrait of him is preserved bearing 
the inscription " Primus Walliae prseses." He has usually been 
regarded as the first regularly appointed Lord President, but it is 
not easy to see in what his position differed from that of Alcock. 
So far as our scanty information goes, it would seem that the 
work done by the two was much the same. Great preparations 
were made for the prince's return to the Marches. Tickenhill 
House, near Bewdley (where he had been married by proxy), had 
been enlarged and made into a palace ; but within five months 
of his wedding the young prince died. 

For the next few years little is known of the Council. In 15 12 
Smyth was succeeded as Lord President by Geoffrey Blythe, 
Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, who held office till 1524. 
After Prince Arthur's death may be placed the transition from 
the " Prince's Council " to the " Council in the Marches of 
Wales." Blythe had been made Bishop of Coventry and Lich- 
field in 1502, on his return from a special embassy to Ladislaus II., 
King of Hungary and Bohemia.^ Soon after this he was accused 
of treason, but honourably acquitted himself of the charge, and 
letters patent for his pardon were issued on February i8th, 
1508-9.2 He was a benefactor of both Eton and King's College, 
bequeathing to the latter a great standing cup given him by 
Ladislaus : another of his gifts was " a pair of great organs," 
valued at ;^40, Among the Welsh Council Papers in the Bridge- 
water MSS. is a letter addressed from Hereford, A° 12 H. VIII. 
to " the righte reuerend father in God our righte trustie and 
welbeloued the Bushopp.of Chester, president of our Counsell in 
the Marches of Wales and to our trustie and righte welbeeloued 

Reign of Henry VIII., Vol. XIV., Pt. I., 518; also by Polydore Vergil, who 
Latinizes some of them almost out of recognition (Historia Anglica, ed. 
1603, Lib. XXVI., p. 1546). Polydore Vergil writes that the prince was sent 
into Wales to gain experience in government, and was honoured cum pro- 
batissimoruni honiuinm fainilia. 

' Diet. Nat. Biog., Vol. V., pp. 276-7. 

'■^ Rymer, Focdera, cd. 1712, Vol. XIII., 246, from Pat. Rolls, 24 H. VII. 
p. I, m, 21. The pardon is comprehensive of all mannerj of offences 
beginning with "murdra" and ending with " imbraciarias." 


all other of our said Counsaill, our Commissioners in the said 

" Henry R. By the Kinge. 

" Right reuerend father in God, righte trustie and righte wel- 
beloued and trustie and righte welbeloued, wee greete yow well, 
and send unto you hereinclosed a bill of Complaint to us pre- 
sented on the behalf of our welbeloued subiecte Johane Brace 
against Sir Henry Martin preist, and other specified in the said 
bill. Wee intending Justice to bee equally mynistered unto every 
of our subiectes and considering your aucthorytie under us, for the 
due mynistracon of the same to our said subiectes in those partes 
doe groundlye and substanciallye examine the Contentes of the 
said bill, and thereuppon sett and Conclude such fynall end and 
determinacon in the same, as shall accord with righte and good 
Conscience. So as in your defaultes for lack of due administracon 
of Justice in this behalf, wee bee now further molested with anie 
pursuite to bee made unto us in this matter. As wee trust yow. 
Geeven under our Signett at our Manner of Greenwich the xxjth 
day of ffebruarye. 

"Joh'es Stokeley 
'^ ex mandato Regis."^ 

This letter is of much interest, as showing that the Council 
of the Marches had come to be regarded as a means of relieving 
the Privy Council of some portion of its judicial work. The 
same conclusion may be drawn from the frequent Commissions 
issued in the early years of Henry VHI.'s reign. In 1510, while 
Bishop Smyth was still Lord President, he and five associates 
were empowered, as Justices of North and South Wales and the 
counties of Shropshire, Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, Worcester- 
shire, Cheshire, and Flint, to punish rebellions, insurrections, 
murders, etc., and to muster and array the fencible men in the 
above-mentioned places. ^ In 15 12 George, Bishop of Coventry 

' Bridgewater MSS., Welsh Council Papers, No. 60. The words " direct 
you to," or something to that effect, appear to have fallen out between "in 
those partes doe" and "groundlye and substanciallye." 

^ Brewer, Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII., I. 956. The 
Commission was repeated in March, 1512, with the addition of one name. 


and Lichfield {i.e. Bishop Blythe), and the five associates mentioned 
in 15 10, were commissioned to inquire into insurrections, re- 
belUons, Lollards, etc., in South Wales, in the same six Border 
counties, and in the lordships of South and North Wales. This 
last clause is significant as presaging stricter control over the 
Marcher Lords.^ In succeeding years similar Commissions were 
issued — in 1513, 1515, 1518, and 1522.2 

The jurisdiction of the Council of the Marches is mentioned in- 
cidentally in a letter to the Chamberlain of North Wales (Charles 
Brandon) for a proclamation to be issued against disturbances on 
the king's departure for France in 1513.^ Persons aggrieved 
might, it is said, seek redress from the Council of the Marches. 
The Chamberlain, it is worth noting, not the Lord President, was 
entrusted with the duty of seeing order kept in the Marches 
during the king's absence over sea. Thus in 1523 Charles 
Brandon, now Duke of Suffolk, Justice of North Wales and 
steward of various lordships, was commissioned to assemble the 
king's tenants in Anglesey, Carnarvon, and Merioneth in the 
said lordships and wherever else he was steward, and to muster 
them for the war. Some fear seems to have been felt that 
Richard de la Pole might land in Wales. Surrey, writing to 
Wolsey on October 23rd, 1523, advised that Sir Rice ap Thomas 
be warned.^ In 1520 Welsh horsemen had been ordered over 
to Ireland to serve under Sir Rice, and in 1522 a commission 
had been issued to some persons in the hundred and lordships 
of Elsmer, Hamton, etc., against the French.^ These notices 
are of interest as showing the high value set upon the Welsh 
for military service. Among minor entries are some relating to 
the appointing of officials — e.g. a letter to the Archbishop of 

' Brewer, I. 3289. 

- Ibid., I. 4198; II., Pt. I. 726, 815; II., Pt. II. 4141. 4528; III., Pt. II. 

2145 (7). 

* Ibid., I. 4060, 695. 

* Ibid., III., Pt. I. 860. This is, of course, the famous Sir Rhys ap 
Thomas (1451-1527), supporter of Henry VII. and Justiciary and Chief 
Governor in South Wales (The Cambrian Plutarch, pp 273, et seqq. The 
Cambrian Register, Vol. I., pp. 49-144). 

" Ibid., III., Pt. II. 2685 (iv). 



Canterbury (the chancellor) for letters patent to Lord Ferres 
(Ferrers), appointing him one of the king's Commissioners and 
one of the king's Council in the Marches of Wales. The letter 
is dated " at the field on the north-east side of Tiroan [Terouenne] 
17 Aug. 1513."^ A patent dated 3 H. VIII. appoints Henry 
Knight as clerk of the signet to the king's Council in the 
Principality of North and South Wales, in the counties of Salop, 
Hereford, Gloucester, Worcester, Chester, and Flint, and in the 
Marches of Wales. The patent states that the office was held 
by Peter Newton in the reign of Henry VII. ^ 

The condition of the Marcher Lordships receives some light 
from the full details extant as to the possessions of the Duke of 
Buckingham. He was Lord of Brecknock and many other lord- 
ships in Wales and the Border, and may not unfitly be regarded as 
the last of the great Lords Marchers. His wealth and influence, not 
to speak of his royal blood, made him a dangerous rival. Among 
the charges brought against him at his indictment (May 8th, 
1521) was that on May loth, in the ninth year of Henry VIII., 
and at other times he sent Gilbert, his chancellor, from Thornbury, 
his Gloucestershire seat, to the king and Council at London and 
East Greenwich ; his purpose was to obtain a licence for re- 
taining certain subjects of the king dweUing in the counties of 
Hereford, Gloucester, and Somerset, and for carrying arms and 
habiliments of war at his pleasure into Wales, with the view of 
fortifying himself against the king.^ 

The king was doubtless jealous of Buckingham's wealth ; his 
yearly income is stated to have been over;^6,ooo, and Thornbury 
alone was worth ^£22,^ iis. $^d. per annum. Among the Bagot 
MSS. is his household book from November 5th, 23 H. VIII., 
to March 22nd following : it is there stated that the Feast of 
Epiphany was kept (evidently at Thornbury Castle) by a party 
numbering 459, of whom 134 were gentry.^ Many entries of 

' Brewer, I. 4404. 

2 Idzd., I. 1513, 1839. 

' Ibid., III., Pt. I. 1284 (i). Particulars of Buckingham's possessions 
are given later on in the same document. 

* Hist. MSS. Commission, Fourth Report, App. Lord Bagot's MSS., 
p. 3276. 


interest relating to Wales and the Border occur in the lists of his 
possessions and his private accounts. Brecknock is described as 
" a very proper walled town, well builded and as well paved, with 
many honest inhabitants in the same, enclosed on the west side 
thereof with the castle which is a good and strong hold with 
all houses of office and lodgings builded after the old fashion, 
except there is a goodly hall set on height only with lights in 
either end and none upon the sides. And as unto the roof of the 
said hall, it is newly and costly made with pendants after a goodly 
fashion ; and into the castle water is conveyed by conduit." The 
castle at Caurs is " in great ruins." There are many bondmen 
on the lordship, both rich and poor. So at Thornbury there 
was " a good number of bondmen, as appears by the Court Rolls." 
Some of the entries in the accounts deserve mention — e.g. 
" offering to John Broune steward of the guild of St. John 
Evangelist, Ludlow, my Lady's grace being made a sister there, 
75. 4^."; "to a Welsh harper at St. Anne's, i^. ; to Master 
Millet, clerk of the signet, for -writing three letters to be sent 
from the King into Wales concerning the Duke's causes, 20s" 

A copy of a valuable letter is extant among the British Museum 
Additional MSS., in which the king informs the duke that the 
accustomed measures for keeping the peace in his lordships have 
not been taken. ^ 

" Bra Henr. Regis diici Buck. 
" Henry Rex. By the King. 

" Right trustie and right entierlie^welbeloued Cousyn we greet 
you well. And whereas for the more assured conseruacon of 
our peax and for the good rest and tranquillitie of our subiectes 
in our marches of Wales It hath bene alwaies heretofore used 
as well within our Lordshippes as within the Lordshippes of 
Lordes Marchers of Wales and of all other Inheritors within 
the same marches That euery man beinge betwene the ages 
of eightene and three score tenne yeres haue bene bounden 
with suertyes some for theire apparance and good abearinge 
and some for theire apparance onlie before the cheife and hed 

' Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 32091, f. 107 (Malet Collection). 


officers of the saide Lordshippes as at a certen daie by them 
lymited. By reason of which bondes and apparaunces good 
Rule and order hath bene used and kepte in those partes. We 
are now crediblie informed that in the Lordshippes to you 
belonginge within our saide marches fewe or no persons be 
put under anie such bondes but remaine clerely at libertie 
contrarie to the usage accustomed which thinge is in your 
default and negligence. And by meane thereof many and diuerse 
murders, Rapes, Roberies, Riottes, and other misdemeanors 
have bene of late and dailie be committed and left clerelie un- 
punished within the same to the high displeasure of God, the 
disorder and transgression of our lawes, the great hurte, damage 
and inquietnes of our subiectes, and to our no litle displeasure 
and myscontentacon. Wherefore we entendinge to have these 
enormyties spedilie reformed, and our Subiectes there to lye in 
rest, welthe and tranquihtie as apperteynethe, wel and straightlie 
chardge and commaunde you that with all convenient diligence 
upon the sight hereof ye all doubtes and dilacions put aparte 
do take of euery man betweene the said ages and inhabited within 
any of your Lordes (sic) of Brecknock, Huntynton, Hay, Kynton, 
Newport, Cantercelly, Penkethley and Caurse, sufficient bondes 
and suerties for th' apparance and good aberinge of them in 
such manner and forme as heretofore hath bene accustomed. 
That is to sale, suche of them for theire apparaunce and good 
aberinge bothe, and such other of them for their apparance onely, 
as it hath bene in the tyme of our deerest fader of famous 
memory and other our noble progenitors used and none other- 
wise. And thereupon ye by your letteres do make unto us 
plaine and true Certyficate of that which ye shall haue done 
in the premisses on this side the last daie of the monethe of 
August next ensewinge without any failinge. As we trust you. 
Yeven under our signett at our Mannor of Woodstocke the 
sixt daie of June." 

The letter is followed by a note : 

" I haue seen and reddithis L're. W. Burghley." 

A Latin note follows to the effect that the letter was inrolled 


in the Chancery at the request of Edward, Lord Stafford, 
A° 36 Eliz.i 

The history of the Council of the Marches during the first two 
Tudor reigns must naturally be considered in relation to the 
legislation dealing with Wales and the Border. The enormous 
possessions of the Earldom of March were by the death of 
Richard III. forfeited to the Crown, and in the Act 4 H. VII., 
cc. 14 and 15, it was enacted that owing to the " vexacion trouble 
and disceite of the subgettis of the King our Sovereign Lord," 
through the use of the seal of the Marches, all feoffments, gifts, 
grants, etc., of lands, tenements, etc., pertaining to the earldom 
were in future to be made under the Great Seal.- A later Act, 
II H. VIII., c. 33, made void divers leases and offices within " the 
Principality of Wales, in the counties Palatine of Chester and 
Flint and in divers other Castles, Manors, Lordships, Lands and 
tenements in the Marches of Wales, and in the Counties of Here- 
ford and Salop, parcels of the Earldom of March." The reason 
given is that the existing rents are less than might reasonably 
be demanded. Provisos, however, are made in favour of certain 
persons — viz. the Bailiff of Bewdley, the Constable of Ludlow 
Castle and Sir Rice ap Thomas (Chamberlain of South Wales and 
Captain of Aberystwith Castle). The succeeding Act, 1 1 H. VII., 
c. 34, annulled an Act of 22 E. IV., which arranged an ex- 
change of lands between the then Prince of Wales and the 
Earl of Huntingdon. A list of lordships is given, which is useful 
for comparison with the Act 27 H. VIII., c. 26, by which the 
Marcher Lordships were turned into shire ground. Noteworthy 
phrases are the "March" of Wales and the earldom of "the 
March." The possession by the Crown of the great Mortimer 
inheritance much facilitated the measures taken by Henry VIII. 
to reduce the privileges of the few remaining Marcher Lords. 

' Buckingham was on bad terms with his Brecknock tenants, and their 
complaints against him came before the Star Chamber (Brewer, Vol. IV., 
Pt. II. 5098, esp. ff. 9, 18). 

* This seal of the Marches is mentioned in a charter for the manumission 
of a villein in Orleton, Herefordshire, quoted by Clive, History of Ludlow, 
p. 15. 



Between 1535 and 1544 numerous Acts were passed affecting 
Wales and the Marches ; they were in the main, doubtless, the 
work of Cromwell, in whose Remembrances the condition of 
Wales is often mentioned. The first Act, 26 H. VIII., c. 4, dealt 
with the punishment of perjury committed by jurors in the 
Lordships Marchers. Owing to lack of supervision, the jurors 
sworn for trial of murders, felons, and their accessories had been 
worked upon to secure their acquittal, " openly and notoriously 
knowen contrarie to equyte and justice." An officer was to be 
sworn to keep the jury withoiiit bread, drink, meat, fire or light, 
or speech with any person save himself, during the interval 
between the charge and the verdict. In case of untrue acquittals 
by jurors in Wales, the Lord President and the Council of the 
Marches were to inflict punishment by fine or imprisonment. The 
succeeding Act, 26 H. VIIL, c. 5, deals with the facilities for 
escape into South Wales or the Forest of Dean given to robbers, 
etc., in the counties of Gloucester and Somerset by keepers of 
ferries over the Severn. Ferrymen were forbidden to carry any 
passengers between sunset and sunrise ; they were to have " good 
knowledge " of their passengers, and to give information about 
them when demanded; also they were to give sureties, when 
called on by Justices of the Peace, not to carry over any suspected 
persons. The Act 26 H. VIIL, c. 6, shows the prevalence 
of murder and felony within the Lordships Marchers. The 
preamble speaks of the " theftes, murders, rebellions, wilfull 
burninge of Houses and other scelerous Dedes and abhomynable 
malifactes to the highe dyspleasure of God, inquyetacion of the 
Kynges well disposed subjectes, and disturbance of the publike 
weale ; which malefactis and scelerous dedes be so rooted and 
fyxed yn the same people, that they be not like to sease onlesse 
some sharpe correccion and punyshmente for redresse and 
amputacion of the premysses be provyded accordinge to the 
demerites of the offendours." The chief provisions of this 
lengthy Act are as follows : 

i. All persons dwelling within Wales or in the Lordships 
Marchers of the same were, when summoned, to appear 
at the Sessions Court before the Justice, steward, or other 


officer in the appointed place, on penalty of fines, which 
were to be taxed by the officers to the king's use, if it 
were within any of the king's Lordships Marchers and to 
the use of the lord for the time being if it were within any 
other Lordship Marcher. 

2. The king's Commissioners and the Council of the Marches 

were empowered to punish (by damages, fine, etc.) un- 
lawful exactions and imprisonment by officers within 
Marcher Lordships. 

3. No weapons were to be brought to Courts, churches, fairs, 

or other places. 

4. No " comorthas " ^ were to be allowed on any pretext. 

5. No "arthel"^ was to be cast for the discontinuing of any 

Court in Wales ; sessions and Courts were to be kept in 
the surest and most peaceable places within the Marcher 

6. For punishment of offences committed within the Marches 

of Wales the trial was to be in the next English county. 
Acquittal in any Marcher Lordship was to be no bar 
against indictment within two years after the commission 
of the offence. 

7. Justices in England might award process into the Marches 

against offenders, and certify outlawries and attainders 
to the officers of the Marches, who were thereupon to 
apprehend and convey offenders from one lordship to 
another into England. 

' See Judge Lewis, Y Cymmrodor, XII., pp. 42-7. The word, he 
explains, is a verb derived from cymhorth = help, and means, to contribute 
in money, kind, or labour to some one who has met with misfortune. 
Pennant, writing in 1773 (Tours in Wales, ed. 1883, Vol. III., pp. 355-6)? 
says that they were frequent in his time for spinning, works of husbandry, 
coal carriage, etc. 

- Judge Lewis (Y Cymmrodor, XII., p. 34) explains the word thus: 
" Exiles who to avoid punishment fled from the jurisdiction where they 
had committed a crime and placed themselves under the protection of the 
Lord of the commote, who undertook to defend them, were called gwyr 
arddelw (men of avowal), arthelmen, or advocarii." Apparently many 
criminals got off scot-free by producing some person or persons to avouch, 
their innocence. 


8. The Justices of gaol delivery, with the assent of the Lord 

President and two of the king's Commissioners or two of 
the Council of the Marches, might discharge offenders 
who paid a fine or gave surety for good behaviour. 

9. The liberties of the Lords Marchers were to be respected. 

10. Offences committed in Merionethshire were to be tried 

in Carnarvon and Anglesey. 

11. If an offender had escaped from one lordship to another, 
he was to be delivered up by the officers of the place 
where he had taken refuge to the officers of the lordship 
where his offence had been committed, or else to the 
officer of the Commissioners or the Council. This was an 
attempt to remedy the abuse that " the Lords Marchers 
have and do pretend a custom and privilege that none of 
the King's ministers or subjects may enter to pursue, 
apprehend and attach any offender escaping from another 
lordship." The result was that offenders went unpunished, 
" to the anymacyon and encouragynge of other yll-dysposed 

In the same year was passed an Act (26 H. VIII., c. 1 1) for the 
punishment of Welshmen attempting any assaults or affrays upon 
the inhabitants of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire, and Shropshire. 
It is stated that when lawful process had been attempted against 
the friends of dwellers in Wales or the Marches, the inhabitants 
of the above counties had been beaten, maimed, grievously 
wounded, and sometimes murdered for attempting to pursue such 
felons. The penalty imposed was one year's imprisonment over 
and above the punishment inflicted in the ordinary course of law. 
The last Welsh Act of the year is entitled " An Acte for purgacion 
of Convictes in Wales" (26 H. VIII., c. 12). Welsh clerks con- 
victed of petty treason, murder, robbery, etc., were to give surety 
before two Justices of the shire where the ordinary's prison was 
situated, or else of the shire adjoining. 

The chief result of the year's legislation was to remove the 
trial of serious offences from the Lordships Marchers to the 
adjoining counties. Next year's Act (27 H. VIII., c. 5) aimed at 
improving the administration of justice in the counties of Chester 


and Flint, Anglesey, Carnarvon, Merioneth, Cardigan, Carmarthen, 
Pembroke, and Glamorgan. Justices of the peace, of the quorum, 
and of gaol delivery were to be appointed for them under the 
Great Seal. The Act next but one on the Statute Book 
(27 H. VIII., c. 7) deals with certain abuses in the forests of 
Wales : the keepers and walkers were accustomed to exact pay- 
ments from those who passed through the forests of Wales or the 
Marches, unless they carried " tokens " or were " yearly tributers 
or chensers." A detestable custom, recalling the days of the 
Normans or Angevins, was that travellers found twenty-four feet 
out of the highway lost a joint of their hands, or else had to pay 
a fine to the foresters.^ Stray beasts were captured and marked 
with the forest mark, so that the owners could not get them back 
except by purchase. The Act abolished all such odious customs ; 
all the king's subjects were to be allowed to pass through the 
forests without paying toll, and stray cattle were to be restored 
to their owners upon payment for their keep during detention. 

All the above-mentioned Acts were merely preparatory to the 
great Act of Union passed in 1536 (27 H. VIII., c. 26), " An Acte 
for Lawes and Justice to be ministred in Wales in like fourme 
as it is in this Realme." By this was effected the incorporation 
of Wales with England, with like liberties to subjects born there 
as in England. The disorders in the Marcher Lordships are 
recited in much the same terms as in preceding Acts, and, with a 
view to prevent them in future, it is enacted that the lordships 
are to be annexed to sundry shires in England and Wales, or 
to be grouped into entirely new counties. 

The five new counties were : 

1. Monmouth, to include twenty -four specified lordships, town- 

ships, etc. 

2. Brecknock, to include sixteen specified lordships, townships, 


3. Radnor, to include sixteen specified lordships, townships, etc. 

4. Montgomery, to include twelve specified lordships, townships, 


5. Denbigh, to include ten specified lordships, townships, etc. 

' Cf. Lord Herbert of Cherbury, Life of Henry VIIL, London, 1706, p. 189. 


The following old Welsh counties received additions of certain 
lordships : 

1. Glamorgan, 9. 

2. Pembroke, 13. 

3. Cardigan, 3. 
4 Merioneth, i. 

Certain lordships were also annexed to three of the English 
Border counties — viz. : 

1. Herefordshire, 10. 

2. Shropshire, 6. 

3. Gloucestershire, 3.^ 

Further provisions of the Act were : 

1. All Courts were to be kept in the English tongue. 

2. Temporal Lords Marchers were to have half the forfeitures 

on recognisances. 

3. The division of the new shires into hundreds was to be 

carried out by Commissioners. 

4. An inquiry was to be made into the laws and customs of 

Wales, and such as might be fit were to be preserved. 

5. Wales was to send knights and burgesses to Parliament.^ 

6. Temporal Lords Marchers were to keep their hberties, in- 

cluding all such mises ^ and profits of tenants as in times 
past, and were to hold all Courts baron. Courts leet and 
lawdays, etc., as heretofore. Within the precincts of their 
lordships they were to have all waifs, strays, infangthef, 
outfangthef, treasure-trove, deodands, goods and chattels 
of felons and persons condemned of felony and murder 

' For full details as to this " shiring " of Wales, see Professor Tout's article 
in Y Cymmrodor, Vol. IX., Pt. II. (1888). 

- Two knights for co. Monmouth and two burgesses for the borough ; 
one knight for each of cos. Brecknock, Radnor, Montgomery, and Denbigh, 
and one burgess for each of their shire towns ; one kpight and one burgess 
for the remaining counties and shire towns except the shire town of 
Merioneth, which had no representation. 

' A mise was a payment by the people to the Prince of Wales or to their 
lord (in the case of Lordships Marchers) for his allowance of their laws and 
ancient customs and for a general pardon of offences (cf. Hargrave 
MSS. 489). 


or put in exigent for murder, also wreck " de mere," 
wharfage, and customs of strangers as in times past, and 
as though such privileges were granted them by a royal 

7. Lands in Wales were to remain partible among heirs male. 

8. The king was empowered to suspend or revoke the Act or 

any part of it within the next three years, and also to 
erect Courts in Wales within five years after the end of 
the Parliament then sitting. 
Next year the Act 28 H. VIII., c. 3, gave the king authority to 
allot the townships of Wales afresh at any time within the next 
three years, and to appoint the shire towns. Three years later 
the statute 31 H. VIII., c. 11, states that, owing to more urgent 
business, the king had had no time to accomplish the allotment ; 
the same power was therefore continued to him for the next three 
years. This new " shiring " took some time to accompUsh, as may 
be seen from the Act 32 H. VIII., c. 4, which provides that 
" treasons or misprisions of treason committed within the Princi- 
pality and dominion of Wales and the Marches of the same, or 
elsewhere within any the King's dominions, where his Grace's 
original writs in his chancery commonly runneth not, shall be 
tried by the oaths of twelve men inhabiting within any such 
shires and before such Commissioners as the King shall from 
time to time appoint." 

After the Act of 1536 Marcher Lordships ceased to differ for 
all practical purposes from any others. A few references to the 
rights appertaining to them are, however, to be found in the 
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. The saving of a moiety of 
forfeitures and fees to Lords Marchers, with the continuance of 
certain other privileges mentioned in the Act of 1536, was the 
subject of the Statute i & 2 Ph. and M., c. 15. It is also 
mentioned in a case described at length in Coke's Book of 
Entries, pp. 549-51. Thomas Cornewall appealed to the two 
above-mentioned statutes in defence of his claim to the goods 
and chattels of felons within the lordships of Stapleton and 
Lugharneys, which at the date of the suit (42 Eliz.) were included 
in CO. Hereford, but had, before 27 H. VIII., c. 26, been Lordships 


Marchers. The tenacity of Marcher privilege is shown by the 
insertion of the following clause in two Acts passed in 1533 — 
three years, that is, before the Union. In an Act concerning 
the rearing of calves is the proviso " that every Lorde Marcher 
have the forfaites, profittes, and advauntages only of every suche 
offender and offenders against the purveyeng of this Acte within 
their Seignories, Liberties, and Fraunchesies Roiall." The same 
clause occurs in the Act 24 H. VIII., c. 9, against killing of 
weanlings. As late as 1632 the rights of Marcher Lords came 
up in a petition addressed to the Privy Council by John Green 
and others of the parish of Chirk, against Sir Thomas Middleton 
and his tenants for refusing to contribute towards the repair of 
the church. Sir Thomas alleged that "the Lordship of Chirck 
is a Lordship Marcher and hath enjoyed many immunities and 
Privileges tyme out of minde and amongst others that it had a 
free Chapell endowed with the Tythe of all the ancient Demesne 
Lands of the Castle there, for the maintenance thereof and of 
a Chaplaine. And the said Demeasnes haue bin euer free from 
anie ceasment for the reparacion of the Parish Church and were 
neuer rated, nor questioned to be rated in the memorie of 
man." ^ The Privy Council, after hearing the allegations on both 
sides, ordered that Sir Thomas should, of his own free gift (and 
according to his own offer), contribute toward the repair of 
the church. 

The Act which completed the union of England and Wales 
was not passed till the Parliament of 34 & 35 H. VIII. The 
statute entitled " An Acte for certaine Ordinaunces in the Kinges 
Majesties Domynion and Principalitie of Wales " is the most 
important statute affecting the Council in the Marches, for its 
jurisdiction is recognised and continued, and its relations to the 
new Great Sessions Courts clearly laid down (34 & 35 H. VIIL, 
c. 26). The third clause runs thus : " Item, that there shalbe 
and remaine a President and Counsaill in the saide Dominion 
and Principalitie of Wales and the Marches of the same, with all 
Officers, Clerkes and Incidentes to the same, in maner and forme 
■as hath heretofore been used and accustomed ; whiche President 

' Privy Council Register, Charles I., May i6th, 1632. 


and Counsaill shall have power and auctorytie to here and 
determyne by there wisdoomes and discreacions such causes 
and matiers as be or hereafter shalbe assigned to them by the 
Kings Ma'tie, as heretofore hath been accustomed and used." ^ 

The fourth and following clauses deal with the Great Sessions 
for Wales. The Justice of Chester was to hold sessions twice a 
year in the counties of Denbigh, Flint, Montgomery ; the Justice 
of North Wales in the counties of Carnarvon, Merioneth, and 
Anglesey ; another Justice was appointed for the shires of 
Radnor, Brecknock, and Glamorgan, and a fourth for Carmarthen- 
shire, Pembrokeshire, and Cardiganshire. The Justice of 
Chester's fee was to be ;;^ioo per annum ; the three other 
Justices were to be paid ;^5o per annum. Each session was to 
last six days. Stewards of manors might continue to hold Courts 
and hold pleas by plaint under the sum of forty shillings, but 
they were not to inquire of felony, and no fresh manorial Court 
was to be erected. Officers of corporate towns might determine 
actions (by juries of six men according to English law), and 
within the next seven years the king might dissolve corporations 
erected by Lords Marchers, and erect others by patent. Several 
clauses deal in detail with the working of the great sessions. 
An important clause, showing the connection of the Council of 
the Marches with local officials, is the 21st, which provides that 
Justices of the Peace (not more than eight in each county) were 
to be appointed by the Chancellor of England, by Commission 
under the Great Seal, on the advice of the Lord President and 
Council and the Justices, or three of them. The Justices of the 
peace were to take their oaths before the Chancellor, or before 
the Lord President or one of the Justices, by virtue of the king's 

' This is not the first mention of the Council in an Act of Parliament. In 
the Subsidy Act of 1540 (32 H. VIII., c. 50, not inrolled in Chancery) the 
Council in the Marches is mentioned, with the Councils of the North and 
West, as a source of expense to the king. The following words are of 
interest: "By reason wherof his true subjectes poor and riche without 
tracte of tyme or any greate charges or expenses, have undelayed Just\'ce 
daylye admi'stred unto them." This Act is not mentioned in the jurisdiction 
controversy of the seventeenth century (Bacon's Works, Spedding & Ellis,, 
Vol. VII., pp. 609, etc.). 


writ of Dedimus potestatem. Quarter-sessions were to be held 
as in England. The clause respecting Welsh sheriffs is also 
important for the present purpose. They were to be nominated 
yearly by the Lord President, the Council, and the Justices of 
Wales, or by three of them, the Lord President being one. A 
list of three substantial persons in each of the twelve shires was 
to be drawn up and certified to the lords of the Council every 
year, crastino Animarum. Out of the three nominated for each 
shire, the king was to appoint one who would take his oath 
before the President and Justices or one of them. The sheriffs' 
duties are thus described : " Item, that everye of the said 
Shiriefes shall have full power and auctorytie within the lymites 
of theyre Shiriefwick, to do and use theyre offices, as Shiriefes in 
Englande, and shall accomplish and execute without any favour, 
drede or corrupcion all maner of Writtes, Proces, Judgementes 
and Execucions and all maner common Justice apperteyning 
to theyre offices of Shiriefs, and all lawfull comaundementes and 
preceptes of the saide President, Counsaill and Justices of Wales 
and allso of the Justices of the Peax, Eschetoures, and Crowners, 
and everie of them, in all things apperteyning to theyre 
officers and auctoryties" (clause 22). This clause of the Act is 
frequently referred to in the declining days of the Marches Court. 
After further defining the duties of sheriffs in Wales, the Act con- 
cludes with the following ordinances : that legal fees were to be 
fixed by the President, Council, and Justices, and that no fines 
were to be allowed for murder and felony. Permission, however, 
was given for reprieves till the king's pleasures should be known. 
Such were the measures by which the incorporation of Wales 
with England was effected. A natural question to ask is, How 
were they regarded by the Welsh ? Some answer may be got 
from Lord Herbert of Cherbury's Life of Henry VHI., in which 
is a lengthy oration purporting to have been delivered to the 
king by a Welsh gentleman in favour of Wales. It may perhaps 
be taken as representing the feeling of at any rate the more 
enlightened Welshmen towards the union which they saw to be 
inevitable.^ The speaker petitions that the Welsh may be received 
' P. 190 (ed. 1706). 


and adopted into the same laws and privileges as those enjoyed 
by the king's other subjects. He recounts the gallant resistance 
in defence of their liberty made against Romans, Saxons, and 
Danes. " Kings of England," he proudly adds, " weary of their 
attempts in person against us did formerly give not only our 
Country to those who could conquer it, but also permitted them 
Jura Regalia within their several precincts ; so it was impossible 
to come to an agreement, while so many that undertook this 
work, usurp'd Martial and absolute power and jurisdiction in all 
they acquired, without establishing any equal Justice. And that 
all offenders for the rest, flying from one Lordship Marcher (for 
so they were term'd) to another, did both avoid the punishment 
of Law and easily commit those Robberies which have formerly 
tainted the honour of our parts. So that until the vigorous Laws 
not only of several Conquerors of England, but the attempters 
on our parts, were brought to an equal moderation, no Union, 
how much soever affected by us, could ensue." The Welsh had 
submitted to Edward I., " a Prince who made both many and 
equaller laws than any before him." They had defended the 
ill-fated Edward of Carnarvon " when not only the English forsook 
him, but ourselves might have recover'd our former liberty, had 
we desir'd it." To Edward III. and Richard II. they had been 
strictly loyal ; if they had resisted Henry IV., the attitude of 
foreigners toward him was surely excuse enough. Welshmen 
had shed their blood ungrudgingly for England on the fields 
of France, and they had not taken advantage of the Civil Wars 
to regain their independence. To Henry VII., " bearing his Name 
and Blood " from them, their devotion, they plead, has never failed. 
They beg, therefore, for defence against their detractors, who mock 
the ruggedness alike of their mountains and their speech. Their 
mountains at least supply not only Wales but England, with good 
beef and mutton, while Welshmen speak their language in the 
throat, " as believing that words which sound so deep, pro- 
ceed from the heart." The survival of Welsh will mean that 
" your Highness will have but the more Tongues to serve you : 
it shall not hinder us to study English, when it were but to 
learn how we might better serve and obey your Highness : To 


whose Laws we most humbly desire again to be adopted and 
doubt not, but if in all Countries Mountains have afforded as 
eminent Wits and Spirits as any other part, ours also by your 
Highness's good favour and imployment may receive that esteem." 
The Welshman spoke truly. In spite of much oppression and 
neglect, his countrymen of the sixteenth century were passionate 
in their loyalty to the Tudor line. In the days of the Civil War 
Harlech was the last castle to hold out for the beaten king, 
and it was a Welshman, Judge Jenkins, who defied the House 
of Commons from its own bar as a den of thieves, responding 
to its threat to hang him by saying that he would hang with 
the Bible under one arm and Magna Carta under the other. ^ 

' Owen Edwards, Wales, p. 373. 



The condition of Wales and the Marches seemed to Wolsey in 
1525 to need drastic measures. The separate jurisdictions of 
the various lordships continued to encourage criminals, and the 
time had clearly come for reducing the Border to complete 
submission to the royal authority. Accordingly, in 1525, follow- 
ing the precedent of Henry VII. in the case of Prince Arthur, 
the king appointed a household for his daughter the Princess 
Mary. A certain number of persons were selected as councillors 
attendant on her person and as Commissioners in Wales and the 
Marches for the instructions given them.^ The new President 
of the Council was John Veysey, or Voysey {alias Harman), 
who in 15 19 had been appointed Bishop of Exeter. Two years 
before he had served as a Commissioner in the inclosures inquisi- 
tion (1517), and in 1520 he accompanied the king to the Field 
of the Cloth of Gold. He was accounted the best courtier among 
the bishops, and had quickly risen into royal favour. He seems 
to have paid but little attention to his duties as Lord President, to 
judge from the state of things found by his successor, Rowland 
Lee. His name, however, appears in several documents relating 
to the Council business.^ 

The duties of the Commissioners are set forth at length in the 

' The councillors numbered fifteen (see the list in Madden, Privy Purse 
Expenses of the Princess Mary, Introduction). 

* Brewer, Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII., IV., Pt. L 
157 (7), and Pt. II. 4470; Gairdner, VI. 83, 169. 

49 4 


Cottonian MSS., Vitellius, c. i., ff. 7-18.^ The preamble to the 
instructions recites that the long absence of a prince from Wales 
or the Marches has " altered and subverted the Good Order, 
Quiet and Tranquillitie of the Country," and caused " due 
Administracion of Justice by Meanes of sondry Contrarieties to 
be hetherunto hindred and neglected." The object of sending 
the commissioners is, first, that "the King's loving Subiects in 
the said Principalitie and Marches may be relieved from the 
necessity of repairing to the Council or to the King's ordinary 
Courts at Westminster " ; secondly, that " the said Countreyes 
may hereafter be reduced unto the pristine and sound Good 
Estate and Order, due Justice administered, poor Men's causes 
rightfully redressed, Offendours and Malefactours to be punished, 
good Men condignly cherished and rewarded, and also the 
Parties there about, by Meane of good HospitaUitie, refreshed." 
The Commissioners were amply furnished with authority " as well 
for Thadministracion of Justice, | as for all other things requisite 
and expedient to be done concerninge the Premisses " — viz. 
(i) a Commission of oyer and determiner; (2) a Commission for 
the administration of justice and decision of causes, griefs, and 
complaints to be made between party and party. 

The clauses that follow deal with the regulations for the 
princess's household, and are printed for the most part in 
Madden's Privy Purse Expenses of the Princess Mary. Then 
come the clauses (fif. 10-18) that deal with the duties of the 
Commissioners : a summary of them will be found in the chapter 
on the Council's procedure. Supplementary instructions to the 
princess's Council are dated July 20, 18 H. VIII., and deal with 
the following matters : forfeitures, keeping of the harness at 
Cardiff, prohibition of comorthas, fines, proclamations, etc., etc.* 
Two clauses are especially noteworthy — viz. 

(t) "Item, for the good ordering of such Lordships as be 
called Lordships Royall and the inhabitantes of the same, and to 
th' intent Th' offences which contrary to Justice be daylie comitted 

* The preamble to the instructions (with a summary of their main 
points) is printed in Collins, Letters and Memorials of State, pp. 4-6. 
2 Cottonian MSS., Vitellius, C. i., f. 20. 


within the same might be dulye repressed and punished. It is 
the Kinges pleasure that the said Lord President and Com- 
missioners shall call afore them at tymes and places to them 
thought convenient all and singular such persons both spirituall 
and temporall as pretendeth to have any lordshipps Royall, 
bindeinge them by Indentures after such forme and manner 
as diuvers Lordes and persons haveinge such Lordships were 
bounden in the Kinges dayes of blessed memory that dead is." 

(2) " Item, forasmuch as by pretence of libertyes and sanctu- 
aryes, many haynous offenders remaine unpunished and that 
it is thought to the Kinge and his Counsayle that such as pretend 
to have such sanctuaries and liberties have not sufficient grauntes 
thereof, and if they have, they extend them further than they 
purport. It is therefore the King's pleasure that quo ■warra?ito 
shalbe put in execucion in all manner places within the limittes 
of their Commission from tyme to tyme as they shall think 
convenient and as the case shall require." 

The princess's household was arranged on an elaborate scale, 
as shown by the lists of officials and servants and by the house- 
hold accounts. Damask, velvet, and cloth were delivered out 
of the wardrobe for her attendants, and chapel furniture was sent 
down from London, consisting of copes, altar vestments, cushions, 
and mass books.^ She was sent to the Marches in September, 
1525, being then under ten years of age. Her appearance is 
described in a letter from Dr. Sampson to Wolsey, dated 
September 3rd, 1525, on the occasion of her visit to her father 
at King's Langley, probably to bid him farewell before her de- 
parture : " My lady princesse com hither on satirday, suyrly sir 
off hyr age os goodly a childe os evyr I have seyn, and off os good 
gesture and countenance. . . . Hyr grace was not oonly welle 
accompanyed with a goodly nombre ; but allso with dyvers persons 
of granite, venerandam habendam canitiein. I saw not the courte, 
sir, better furnished with sage personages many days then now." ^ 

' Brewer, Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII., Vol. IV., Pt. I., 
•577) ^-9' See also Madden, Privy Purse Expenses of the Princess 
Mary, Introduction, and Harl. MSS. 6S07, ff. 3-6. 

- Madden, p. xlii., and Cottonian MSS., 'Tit. B. i., f. 321 (formerly 314). 


Little is known of Mary's life during this period. She must 
have divided her time between Thornbury, her first residence, 
Ludlow, and Tickenhill, near Bewdley (which, according to 
Leland,^ was built by Henry VII. for Prince Arthur and re- 
paired for the princess). A letter, dated November, 1525 or 
1526, from Tewkesbury, addressed by six of the princess's 
Council to Wolsey, speaks of the great repair of strangers to 
the Lady Mary expected at the coming Christmastide, and asks 
his Grace's pleasure respecting " a ship of silver for the almes 
disshe," Christmas entertainments, " Lorde of Misrule," " enter- 
ludes, disgysynges," and the like, and also about New Year's 
gifts for the king and queen, his Grace {i.e. Wolsey himself), 
and the French queen. 

The princess seems to have stayed in the Marches throughout 
1526, the year in which Wolsey was labouring to bring about 
her marriage to Francis I. or his second son Henry, Duke of 
Orleans. But in April, 1527, she was summoned from Ludlow 
to meet the French Commissioners and take part in the enter- 
tainments provided for them at Greenwich. After long negotiation, 
it had been decided that Mary should marry either Francis or 
his son : the former, should he remain a widower till she arrived 
at marriageable age ; the latter if he {i.e. Francis) should marry 
Eleonora, sister of the emperor. Soon after the French am- 
bassador left England, the first rumours of the divorce scheme 

Up to the conclusion of the case the princess seems to 
have been with her mother, but was afterwards separated from 
her entirely. Her establishment in the Marches was soon 
reduced, as appears from a letter addressed by the princess's 
Council to Wolsey on March 25th, 1528. They write that, 
according to instructions, the princess's household had been 
discharged, and trust that Wolsey will grant the attendants their 
wages till they can be provided for. To stop complaints, the 
writers had " devised letters for the King to send to certain 
abbots within the limits of the Council's commission," according 
to the bill enclosed. The enclosure is a circular letter to be 
' Leland, Itin., Vol. IV., f. 1836. 


addressed to thirty-four abbots in the Marches, stating that for 
her own better education and for the consolation of the king 
and queen it has been ordered that the princess should reside 
near the king's person. As the Council of the Marches would 
be encumbered by having to move a great household from place 
to place in her absence, her officers and servants have been 
allowed to go home. But as several of them are destitute of 
houses or friends to resort to, the abbot is requested to take so 
many (a blank is left here) of them in the meantime " unto his 
convenient finding." The writers add that if Wolsey would 
bestow sixty-nine of the poorest of the princess's servants among 
these houses, it would be "a full gracious deed." ^ This vicarious 
form of benevolence was doubtless carried out. The accounts 
of the Treasurer of the Chamber for March 21, H. VIII., give 
further proof of the breaking-up of the Ludlow household. 
"To Wm. Cholmeley, for conveying from Ludlow to London 
of sundry chapel stuff, plate, &c., delivered at the setting up of 
the Princess's household, ;^2o." ^ 

Meanwhile, the Commissioners remained in the Marches, 
well provided with work, to judge from the incidental notices 
of disturbances both there and in Wales. On January 9th, 1526, 
Walter Devereux, Lord Ferrers, wrote to the Lord President that, 
contrary to a previous understanding (confirmed by proclamation 
in Westminster Hall and within the precincts of the Commission), 
subpoenas to appear at Westminster had been served in 
Carmarthen and Cardigan. The inhabitants of both shires 
" saith plainly that they will not pay one groat at this present 
Candlemas next coming, nor never after, if any man do appear 

' Brewer, IV., Pt. II. 4096 ; cf. 3874. 

- Gairdner, V., p. 318. Up to October 1st, 1533, Mary still had an 
establishment numbering one hundred and sixty-two persons ; but soon after 
the birth of Elizabeth (September, 1533) she was ordered to lay aside the 
name and style of princess, and bestow them on her half-sister. Her 
refusal to comply with this command brought her into disgrace with the 
king. In December, 1533) Commissioners (four in number) were appointed 
"for the diminishing the house and ordering of the Lady Mary," but no 
details of their proceedings are extant. 

Harl. MSS. 6807, ff. 7-9, and Cottonian MSS. Cleop. E. vi,, f. 328 (formerly 


otherwise than they have been accumed [sic], but they had hever 
run into the woods." Lord Ferrers, writing to his nephew 
Thomas Arundel on January 13th, explains that the inhabitants 
have been accustomed to pay the king one thousand four hundred 
marks at his entering and seven hundred marks a year ever after, 
at Candlemas ; but both shires refuse to pay next Candlemas, 
if denied their old liberties. This, he adds, is the most serious 
thing that has occurred since he first knew Wales. ^ 

Two years later, October i6th, 1528, a petition was sent up 
to the Council by the bailiff of Brecknock and other burgesses 
stating that justice was not kept, that the king's tenants were 
impoverished and his revenues decayed. In reply, a lengthy 
document was issued under the title of " Decrees and Direccions 
made by oure soueraigne lord King Henry the eyght by the 
advyse and assent of his most (ho)norable counsayle consideryng 
the peticion put unto his highnes by his hole tenants and 
subgettes of his towne and lordship of Breknok in Southwales." 
After the recital of the various complaints come details as to 
the future management of the revenue accruing from the lordship, 
and the necessity of preventing the growth of arrears. An in- 
dication that, however unsatisfactory the condition of things in 
Brecknock, it was an improvement on what had prevailed there 
in the past, is given in the following passage : " For as muche 
as the generalitie of the poer people ther do apply themselfe 
diligently in husbondry labores, tyllage and plowynge more then 
hath byn seen sithe the tyme of eny man's memory levyng. And 
also that ther be not soo many universalle misdoers and offenders 
as in tymes passed owre seid souereign^ lord is pleased and also 
it is decreed for the comfort of his good people, tenantes and 
resiantes soo endevorynge themselfe in and abowte tillage, 
that the severall somes of and for good abearynge and 
apparaunces of and for every person fyndyng convenient suerties 
therfore to be but myld, that is to say xls. for apparaunces and 
xls. for the good abearynge, provided alway that eny suche 
person or persons that be or shalbe notoryously offenders and 

' Brewer, IV., Pt. I., 1872, 1887, 2201. 


mysdoers to be bounden at convenyent suerties for their appar- 
ances and good abearynges in as grete somes as shalbe thought 
requisite by the discrecion of the officers ther for the tyme beyng 
havyng the Auctorite to take such bandes by recognisaunces or 
other wyse." ^ 

In some parts there were said to be even open insurrections, 
as in Carmarthen in the summer of 1529. Lord Ferrers, Chamber- 
lain of South Wales, informed Wolsey that at the instigation of 
Rece Griffith and Lady Haward {i.e. Sir Rhys ap Griffith and his 
wife, a daughter of the Duke of Norfolk), the greatest insurrection 
in Wales within the memory of any one had broken out. Procla- 
mations, however, were issued in the king's name, divers of his 
servants and true subjects had come to the rescue, and the 
captains and ringleaders had returned home.^ It must be re- 
membered, however, that Lord Ferrers and the young Sir 
Rhys ap Griffith were deadly enemies, and that the information 
given above was much exaggerated. An account of the matter 
is given by Ellis Griffith in his MS. history among the Mostyn 
Papers.^ He says that when Sir Rhys went down to Wales 
the whole country turned out to welcome him, whereupon Lord 
Ferrers grew jealous. The two rivals happened to come to 
Carmarthen at the same time, and an open quarrel resulted from 
a fight between their retainers. They were promptly summoned 
before the Star Chamber, where in Wolsey's presence they 
hurled at each other accusations of violence, oppression, and 
bribery. At last both parties were censured for their misdoings, 
Lord Ferrers especially for his bad temper and want of sense in 
quarrelling with one young enough to be his son, whose youth 
must be his excuse. They were finally dismissed with the com- 
mand that they were to make peace with their respective followers, 
and to depart thence by land and water arm in arm to the palace 
and the Fleet. 

Next year (1530) a warrant was addressed to Walter Lord 

' Brewer, IV., Pt. II., 5098. 
- Ibid., IV., Pt. III. 5682, 5693. 

' Hist. MSS. Commission, Reports on MSS. in the Welsh language, Vol. I., 
1898. Mostyn MSS., No. 158, Preface, p. 9 (translation). 


Ferrers, as Justice in South Wales, to apprehend James ap Griffith 
ap Howell, who had fortified himself in the Castle of Emlyn, 
South Wales.i A little later, one Thomas Philips, writing to 
Cromwell, speaks of the great decay in Wales especially as to the 
breed of cattle, and insists that the evil cannot be amended till 
these four articles are enforced : 

1. That officers in Wales be restrained from taking fines for 

felony and murder. 

2. That they be compelled to restore tracks. 

3. That the retinue of officers in commission with the princess 

in Council do not, as now, delay justice. 

4. That yearling calves be not sold. 

He desires that such a Council be established in the Marches 
that the best officer in Wales shall quake if found in default.^ 

By 1533 the condition of Wales was exciting much uneasiness. 
Sir E. Croft, writing to Cromwell and Paulet, excuses himself by 
lack of time for not carrying out the survey of woods within his 
office. The Lord President of the Council was away, and only 
four Commissioners were available to determine matters. Wales 
was " far out of order," and many murders in Oswestry and 
Powys had gone unpunished, because the chief of the Council 
were spiritual men without power to inflict the death penalty for 
felony or murder. He wishes " some man to be sent down to 
us to use the sword of justice where he shall see cause through- 
out the principality ; otherwise the Welsh will v/ax so wild it will 
not be easy to bring them into order again." ^ Throughout the 
year the words, " The necessity of looking into the state of 
Wales," or words to that effect, constantly occur in Cromwell's 
Remembrances.* The chief changes planned by Cromwell 
were : that according to the old laws no Welshman was to hold 
office in Wales ; that murders committed in Wales and the 
Marches might be tried in the Star Chamber ; that no one should 
hold two offices in Wales ; that the Justice of Chester should not 

' Brewer, IV., Pt. III. 6709 (7). 

- Gairdner, V. 991. ' Ibtd, VI. 2IO. 

" Ibid., VI. 386, 727. Cottonian MSS., Tit. B. I. 150, 461. Cleop. 
E. VI. -xiz. 


hold his office by deputy ; and lastly, that the payment of fines 
and forfeitures should be rigorously enforced on Welshmen con- 
victed in the Star Chamber or before the king's Commissioners 
in the Marches. 

Complaints against laxity of administration were increasing ; 
^^ 1533 John Salysbury writes from Denbigh to Cromwell : 
" Unless you write to the President of the Marches that the 
indictments (of the Bishop of St. Asaph and Robert ap Rice for 
prsemunire) should be tried in the country where the offence was 
done, in consideration of the royal prerogative, no obedience 
here will be paid to the laws." Thomas Crofte writes in the 
same year : " More than a hundred have been slain in the 
Marches of Wales since the Bishop of Exeter was President 
there, and not one of them punished." ^ 

Still, some amount of work was done, as can be gathered from 
incidental notices. We read of men imprisoned in Ludlow 
Castle for seditious words;- of an examination into the murder 
of four men of the lordship of Elvell (adjoining Hereford) ; ^ and 
of a Commission to inquire into certain extortions by officers in 
the Marches of Wales.'* That the latter offence was common 
enough is proved by the succeeding entry to the effect that the 
deputy steward and Heutenant of Elvell had been proved guilty 
of embezzling ^150 on fines, forfeits, and heriots.^ Among other 
charges mentioned are breach of the peace by a certain Walter 
Herbert, and the withholding of a pension due to the Vicar of 

1 Gairdner, VI, 946. 2 Brewer, IV., Pt. II. 4140. 

' Gairdner, V. 199. " Ibid., VI. 83. 

^ Ibid., VI. 84. With this may be compared the Articles against 
certain Officers in Glamorgan, printed in Mr. Clark's Cartae et alia 
Munimenta de Glamorgan, Vol. II., p. 277, No. ccccxxix., from P.R.O. 
Wallia Miscell. Bag, No. 23. Morgan Matthews, coroner of the shire, and 
a certain Nicholas Williams had between them embezzled fines due to the 
king to the amount of ;^82. Lawrence, the deputy recorder and Court 
clerk of the shire and its members, who was bound to show the king's 
auditors a list of fines and forfeitures, had for twelve years kept a double 
set of books to the king's great loss. He had also taken 20s. from a 
claimant to the Manor of Castelton as a reward for stealing a fine of record 
out of the king's exchequer at Cardiff. 


Bradwey by the Abbot of Pershore.^ A case that was before 
the Commissioners for four years was that between the Prior of 
Worcester and certain tenants, who affirmed that their old customs 
in the lordship of Lyndrige were infringed. The prior stoutly 
upheld the rights of his house and denied the truth of the 
charge.^ An interesting petition to the " Pryncesse Counsaill " 
occurs among the Hereford MSS. Sir William Hunt, priest, 
petitions against the occupation of two shops (belonging to his 
vicarage) by Ph. Baskervile, Esq., without paying any rent. 
Baskervile, it is alleged, has added them to his own house, 
making one of them a porch, and " manysshing your orator yf 
he will medle therwith or selle any distresse that he will kyll and 
sle, and also he is a strong gent, there that your poor orator is 
not able to opteyne remedye agaynst hym." The petitioner begs 
for letters from the Council directing the mayor to inquire into 
the matter.^ With this petition may be mentioned a letter from 
the Council to the Mayor of Hereford concerning an affray, 
asking for information concerning Thomas Baskervile, one of 
the parties concerned.^ 

In addition to its judicial duties, the Council performed a 
certain amount of administrative work. In August, 1525, the Lord 
President and seven other members wrote to Sir A. Windsor 
and two others about ordnance and artillery to be delivered for 
the princess into the Marches of Wales.^ The members of the 
Commission who appear to have been most active are Lord 
Ferrers, Chief Justice of South Wales and Steward of the 
Household ; ^ Sir E. Croft, the Vice-Chamberlain ; Sir Ralph 
Egerton, the Treasurer ; Richard Sydnour, the Surveyor ; and 
George Bromley, one of the Councillors learned in the law. The 
Lord President, writing to Wolsey in 1528, begs for some prefer- 
ment for some of the princess's servants. Bromley, he says, 

' Gairdner, VI. 298. 

2 Ibid., VI. 747. 

3 Hist. MSS. Commission, Hereford MSS., p. 310, 
* Ibid., p. 314. 

^ Brewer, IV., Pt. I. 1577 (4), p. 709. 

" He was also Chamberlain of South Wales and of the counties of 
Carmarthen and Cardigan. 


has done long service, and his fee is ^50 ; Croft is a man of 
inflexible justice, and will do well in Worcestershire ; Russell, 
the Secretary, does well, and had in the Duke of Buckingham's, 
time the keepership of the park of Maxtoke, now vacant. Salter 
says his ofifices in North Wales do not sustain his costs in riding 
thither.^ The Lord President himself was of much the same 
opinion as Salter, for in 1533 he wrote to Cromwell, "I beg to 
have convenient days of payment for my convicts lately escaped,. 
for though I am in the Marches partly at the king's charges, I 
spare of my revenue little at the year's end." ^ 

Under Bishop Voysey the condition of the Marches had 
become intolerable. A strong hand was needed to repress the 
lawlessness and discontent which almost inevitably marked the 
transition stage in the history of Wales. A suitable instrument 
was found in the person of Rowland Lee, one of the many whom 
Wolsey's patronage had raised to power. Between the years 
1528 and 1534 he had been one of the king's chief agents in his 
dealings with the monks and the clergy and also in the divorce 
proceedings. The man who had plied Fisher with questions 
during his imprisonment in the Tower, had sought to shake the 
resolution of Queen Catherine, and had attempted, though in 
vain, to " drive reason into the obstinate heads of the Friars 
Observant," was not likely to flinch from the duties awaiting him 
in Wales. By a curious coincidence he had in earlier life been 
connected with two former Lords President. Bishop Smyth had 
in 15 12 ordained him priest, and invested him with a prebend; 
Bishop Blythe had in 1527 made him his chancellor. In June 
1534, he was elected bishop of the great East Midland see of 
Coventry and Lichfield (colloquially called Chester), and in May 
he was appointed Lord President of the king's Council in the 
Marches of Wales. ^ 

Of all those who presided over this Council, Lee undoubtedly 
stands out most clearly, and has left a most lasting impression on 
the country subject to his jurisdiction. How strong this im- 
pression was a generation after he had passed away may be seen 

' Brewer, IV., Pt. II. 4470. - Gairdner, VI. 169. 

•* Diet. Nat. Biog. 


from the discourse by William Gerard, to which reference has 
already been made. Writing to Walsingham in 1575, he speaks 
of Lee as " stowte of nature, readie-witted, roughe in speeche, not 
affable to any of the walshrie, an extreme severe ponisher of 
offendors, desirous to gayne [as he did indeed] credit with the 
Kinge and comendacon for his service. Suche one as hadd no 
neede of the office for any wante of lyvinge, for besides the 
Kinges allowaunce he spente the Revenue of his Bishoprick in 
that service." Gerard goes on to speak of Lee's worthy helper, 
Justice Englefield, " for lerninge and discrete modest behavoor 
comparable with anie in the Realme," and of Bromley, Holt, and 
others, who shared his task. These in the beginning, he adds, 
" spent their holle tyme in travellinge yeerlie eythr throughe 
Wales or a great parte of the same in causes towchinge Civill 
governement, and by that travell knewe the people and founde 
theire disposicon, favored and preferred to auctoritie and office in 
theire Contreys suche howe meane of lyvinge soever theye were, 
as theye founde diligente and willinge to serve in discoveringe 
and tryinge owte of off'ences and offendors. Theye likewise 
deforced and discountenanced others of howe greate callinge and 
possessions soever theye were, beinge of contrarie disposicon. 
This stoute bushoppes dealinge and the terror that the vertue of 
learninge workethe in the subiecte when he perceiveth that he is 
governed under a lerned magistrate, within iij or iiij °' yeres 
generallie soe terrified theyme, as the verie feare of ponishment 
rather then the desire or love that the people hadd to chaunge 
theire walshrie wroughte firste in theym the obedience theye 
nowe bee growen into. Then," he concludes, " was this Counsell 
and theire proceedinges as moche feared, reverenced and hadd in 
€?timacion of the walshe as at this daye the Starre chamber of th' 
english." ^ 

We are fortunate in possessing specially detailed information 
as to the work done by the Council in the Marches at this time, 
for Lee kept up a regular correspondence with his second patron, 
Cromwell. His letters give ample proof of his unwearied activity 

' State Papers, Domestic, Elizabeth, Vol. CVII., No. 10. 


in spite of much discouragement. The task immediately before 
him was the punishment of felonies, especially manslaughter and 
thievery. The lax administration of Bishop Voysey, and more 
particularly his incapacity, as a spiritual person, to inflict capital 
punishment, had resulted in a state of things that disgraced a 
civilised country. Lee, however, was specially empowered to 
inflict the death-penalty, and never hesitated to do so, particularly 
in cases where the offender was a person of importance. Other 
serious evils were the difficulty of obtaining verdicts against 
notorious offenders, the misdeeds of officers both royal and 
manorial, the abuse of the privilege of sanctuary, and the 
frequency of riots and "affrays." So disturbed was the country 
that Chapuys, in his correspondence with Charles V., often 
speaks of it as ripe for insurrection. 

During his tenure of office Lee enjoyed several advantages ; the 
Act of 1535 (26 H. VIII., c. 5) ordered felonies committed in 
Wales to be tried in the next English county, and the Council 
had a more summary jurisdiction than heretofore. He had also 
a zealous and efficient subordinate in Sir Thomas Englefield, Chief 
Justice of Chester. From 1534 to his death in 1543 Lee laboured 
to reduce Wales to order. Very soon his exertions bore fruit, and 
he could write to Cromwell triumphantly : " I hope you under- 
stand the good order begun in Wales so that thieves are afraid ! " ^ 
By the autumn of 1534 he had devised a new book of instructions 
and sent it to Cromwell for approval.^ He was busy planning 
next year's work, for in the winter of 1534-5 he writes : "I intend 
after Easter to stop a month at Presteigne among the thickest of 
the thieves, and shall do the king such service as the strongest 
of them shall be afraid to do." The difficulty of enforcing order 
is seen in a letter from Sir E. Croft to Cromwell, saying that 
the king's Commissioners had proclaimed in the Marches of Wales 
that no one should carry weapons in fairs or markets, but that, in 
spite of this, on Friday, July 3rd, 1534, a great affray had taken 
place in the market of Bishop's Castle, in which many were 

'.Gairdner, Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VII., Vol. VII. 1 151. 
•-' Ibid., VII. 1393. 


In 1535 Lee secured the submission of several who were guilty 
of felony, manslaughter, and other grave crimes. The murderers 
made a desperate effort to save their lives by offering to take 
other offenders for their pardon and for eight years " to be of 
good disposition." ^ A notorious robber of no fewer than 
eighteen churches was brought to trial, and Lee could say hope- 
fully : "If Wales be applyed a little while, all will be quiet." ^ 
In another letter he writes : " Wales is very well amended and in 
comparison there is very little thieving of cattle, chiefly because 
no one will buy them if they are suspected of being stolen." ^ 
Yet he knew well enough that the improvement was merely 
temporary. His plan for the summer was to stay for short 
periods at Gloucester, Worcester, and Bewdley, and then at 
Shrewsbury to be nearer Wales ; " for though they are well re- 
formed for the time, they will be sure to return to their unhappy 
demeanour except for fear." ■* 

A number of outlaws had during the year submitted them- 
selves voluntarily without a safe-conduct, which was an unheard- 
of thing before.^ Three of the most " arrant thieves " in all 
Wales had been executed. An instructive picture of the 
career of such an evildoer is given in the various letters 
mentioning Robert Stradling, a ne'er-do-weel connected with 
the great South Welsh family of that name.^ His confession, 
taken at Bewdley on September 28th, 1535, is summarised thus ; 
" About two years ago took part with his father-in-law, Watkyn 
Lougher, who disputed certain lands with Chr. Turbill. Confesses 
to having kept one Lewes of North Wales and one Griffith of Caer- 
marthenshire, who robbed and murdered Piers Dere, for five or 
six weeks in his house, and they gave him one royal of Dere's. 
Killed Gitto Jenkyn, who quarrelled with him while coursing at 
the White Crosse, on the said lands in variance. Was outlawed, 
and to escape the search, boarded with six persons a balinger of 
Pastowe in the haven near the Abbey of Neath, and made the 

' Gairdner, Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VII., Vol. VIII. 923. 
2 Ibid., VIII. 584. = Ibid., VIII. 947. 

^ Ibid., VIII. 1058. ' Ibid., VIII. 861. 

« Ibid., IX. 67, 354, 465. 


mariners put to sea for three weeks. Did no harm to any one. 
Landed at Milford Haven and went to Waterford in the latter 
end of April. Hearing that proclamations were made in Wales 
against him, returned." ^ In the end Stradling was recommended 
by Lee for the king's pardon, because he was " a proper man 
and a good archer and willing to pay a reasonable fine."^ 

In the summer of 1535, during his stay at Bewdley, Lee suffered 
from an attack of fever, brought on, we may suspect, by over- 
work.^ Earlier in the year he had written a doleful letter to 
Cromwell, complaining that he would like a fortnight's holiday, 
but was single-handed. Dr. Butts, the king's physician, was sent 
to visit him, with good results. "I thank the king upon my 
knees," he writes, " for allowing his physician to visit me, the 
sight of whom revived me."* 

The year 1536 was no less full of work. "Good rule," 
writes the indefatigable President, " prevails here, for one cow 
keeps another, which was never before . . . the thieves have 
hanged me in imagination,! I trust to be even with them 
shortly." ^ 

In spite of the measure of success gained, Lee would relax no 
effort, nor did he desire to be absent from Wales even to attend 
Parliament, " considering the frailty of the inhabitants and their 
love of novelty." This year he had to deal with the difficult 
matter of sanctuaries. He and Englefield wrote to Cromwell 
that a certain John ap David Griffith, while serving the Council's 
letters upon John ap Morice Lloyd, now in sanctuary at West- 
minster, was wilfully murdered by him.^ Lloyd's friends intended 
to move the king for a pardon, which the writers think should be 
withheld. Lee mentions the " Club Sanctuaries " of Wigmore and 
Bewdley as receiving not a few thieves, and urges that an Act 
of Parliament should declare in what shire the town and franchise 
of Bewdley stand ; ^ for if any be indicted in Worcestershire, 

' Gairdner, IX. 465. - Ibid., IX. 126, 510. 

^ Ibid. IX. 302. Mr. Gairdner notes that this letter is signed very 

* Ibid., IX. 166. « Ibid., X. 129 

« Ibid., X. 354. ' Ibid., X. 258, 259. 


they say their town and franchise be in Shropshire and 
vice versa. 

Thieves were still Lee's bugbear. He writes with much 
indignation that at a certain cattle-sale Richard Lloyd, of 
Welshpool, "a gentleman and a thief and a receiver of thieves," 
had on a doublet of crimson velvet or satin, " which does not 
become a thief; the hanging of one such would cause forty to 
beware." ^ Another, Lloyd, had stolen, " burned and killed 
without mercy." 2 Lee was driven to try what terror would effect. 
On a market-day he had a dead thief hanged on the gallows for a 
warning, and records with grim satisfaction that three hundred 
people followed to see the carriage of the thief in the sack, " the 
manner whereof had not been before." "All thieves in Wales 
quake for fear, and there is but one thief, of name Hugh Duraunt, 
whom we trust to have shortly. Wales is brought to that state 
that one thief taketh another and one cow keepeth another, as 
Lewis my servant shall inform you."^ He still found difficulty 
in ensuring the punishment of offenders : often proceedings were 
stopped on the bare assertion of the friends of the accused ; often 
the officers of the Marcher Lordships took no trouble because the 
tenants made compensation to the parties robbed.'* Lee urged 
that offenders should be discharged by fine or otherwise in open 
Court, though he admits that " my Lord Worcester and Lord 
Ferrers will greatly stick at it." Lee attributes the disorderly 
condition of the country mainly to the lack of impartiality in 
dealing with offenders.^ Thus he asks Cromwell that John 
Scudamore may be put out of the commission here, on the 
ground that he is "a gentleman dwelling nigh the Welshery and 
kynned and alyed in the same ; through the bearing and bolstering 
of such gentlemen Wales was brought to that point that I found 
it in."G 

An instance of the cases with which the Council had to 
deal is as follows : John Trevor, of Oswestry, gentleman, was 
summoned to the Council for assisting to burn a man's house 

' Gairdner, X. 204. - Ibid., X. 31. 

3 Ibid., X. 130. * Ibid., X. 31. 

' Ibid., X, 330. '■ Ibid., XI, 1255. 


in Chirkland, and through negligence contrived to escape. He 
promptly " went to the wood " with Robert ap Morice, con- 
demned for "resetting" David Lloyd or Place. ^ Lee writes 
particulars to Cromwell begging him to stop any attempt at 
procuring their pardon. An offence connected with this " bearing 
and bolstering" was the practice of taking comorthas. By statute 
it had been strictly forbidden except in certain specified cases 
(e.g. loss of property by fire) ; but in the summer of 1536 Lee 
assures Cromwell that a certain George Mathew, gentleman, of 
South Wales, had obtained a placard to the contrary, though 
without cause expressed. " He is so befriended," is Lee's 
comment, "that it will run through all Wales to his advantage 
to the amount of roo marks." Among other offences of which 
notices occur in 1534-6 are riot (X. 310), robbery of churches 
(Vni. 839), and coining (VH. 1225). 

The next year (1537) was marked by the death of Lee's most 
valued assistant, Justice Englefield. Writing to Cromwell on 
September 28th, Lee says: "Mr. Justice Englefield died at eight 
o'clock this morning at Bridgnorth on his way hither. Having 
here many great and urgent causes I beg you to move the King 
that I may have help of someone of learning and experience. I 
shall do my part while my rude carcass shall endure. Remember 
the commonwealth of these parts, which if I have not help will 
decay again. I have over twenty felons, and none to help me."^ 

Lee seems to have missed Englefield much, and to have 
found the cares of his office more burdensome than ever. His 
reports to Cromwell throughout the year on the state of 
Wales are curiously varied. At one time he is hopeful, at 
another utterly depressed. Still, on the whole, it is clear 
that his firmness was making itself felt. " All in good order 
here (sc. Shrewsbury)," he writes, " saving now and then 
a little conveying amongst themselves for a fat sheep or a 
bullock in Kery, Kedewen, Arustley, and Kevylyocke, which is 
impossible to be amended ; for thieves I found them, and 
thieves I shall leave them." ^ 

' Gairdner, X. 453. - Ibid., XII., Pt. II. 770. 

» Ibid., XII., Pt. II. 1237. 



The birth of Prince Edward was the signal for a great 
outburst of Welsh loyalty, "the gladdest tidings and merriest 
people in these parts that ever was." But Lee is more con- 
cerned to remark that " a little the thieves begin to steal, 
trusting to white books by the birth of a Prince." ^ Cromwell 
was assured by both Lee and Sir John Pakington that Wales 
and the Marches were never in better order.^ On the other 
hand, much annoyance was given by a troublesome dispute 
as to the stewardship of Arustley and Keviliock, between 
Lord Ferrers and the Earl of Worcester. Till it was ended 
no Courts were kept, and good order was in danger of being 
destroyed. The " great sort of gentleman " at Arustley met 
in unlawful assemblies to prevent Lord Ferrers from keeping 
the Court, but were promptly " put in hold " with the 
porter. Ultimately it was decided that Lord Ferrers should 
hold the stewardship during the Earl of Worcester's pleasure.^ 
Similar disturbances took place in Denbigh and Glamorgan. 
At Denbigh John Salisbury said that the Council did not well 
to take the weapons from the inhabitants or to molest them, 
for he could rule them, and he drew his dagger at the messenger 
who rebuked him.'' There was a feud, too, between the country 
folk round Denbigh and the townsfolk. The former on a 
market-day came in arms and proclaimed at the market-cross 
that Welshmen were as free as Englishmen, and that they should 
pay no stallage there.^ Sir Richard Bulkeley, writing in reference 
to a riot in Bangor Cathedral, wished for king's letters forbidding 
the wearing of armour by Welshmen, except the king's officers. 
''Without speedy remedy the King will have as much to do in 
Wales as ever he had in Ireland.^ 

In this rather monotonous Hst of Welsh offenders it is a 
Trdief to come across those of another race, "the lewd people 
calling themselves Gipcyans," who had been pardoned in the 
(previous year for a shameful murder, on condition that they 

> Gairdner, XII., Pt. II. 985. " Ibid., XII., Pt. II. 1199 (ii). 

3 Ibid., XII., Pt. II. 896, and Pt. I. 1271— 1272. 
" Ibid., XII., Pt. I. 1 148. * Ibid., XII., Pt. I. 1 183. 

■" Ibid., XII., Pt. I. 507. 


quitted the realm. Cromwell wrote to Lee to inquire their 
whereabouts if they had not already departed, and to compel 
them to hasten to the nearest seaport and take ship with the 
first wind. If this command should be broken again, they 
were to be executed.^ 

The year 1538 opened well. "Wales was never in better 
order, all old factions forgotten." "Your subjects in Wales be in 
such order that since Christmas I hear of neither stealing, riots, 
murders nor manslaughters." " In the marches and in Wales in 
the wild parts where I have been, is order and quiet such as is 
now in England."^ 

A good example of Lee's strong measures is seen in his 
description of the Gloucester assizes, when Roger Morgan of 
Wales was, in spite of strong evidence, acquitted of forcibly 
carrying off a widow from a church. "This," says Lee, "is a 
vice common in Wales, and for its reformation we had ordered 
trial to be made, but all the honest persons we had appointed to 
the inquest absented themselves." The jury were bound over to 
appear at the next assize, and meantime to appear before the 
Council in the Star Chamber upon ten days' warning. Lee urges 
that the matter may be considered, " else farewell to good rule." ^ 
At these assizes six men were condemned for felony and two for 
treason. " Their heads and quarters," Lee callously remarks, 
"shall be sent to eight of the best towns of the shire." In 
Shropshire equally severe measures were taken, and four gentle- 
men of the best blood of the county were executed.'* 

Lee found, as in previous years, that the partiality of juries was a 
great hindrance to justice. In a letter to Cromwell he gives full 
details of a suit where the verdict of acquittal was given against 
the strongest evidence, and the mischief of " bearing " was very 
clearly displayed.-^ Another case was that of the Cheshire 
inquest, which found murders to be manslaughters and riots to 
be misbehaviour. These verdicts were promptly punished by the 

' Gairdner, XII., Pt. II. 1173. 

- Ibid., XIII., Pt. I. 53, 222, and Pt. II. 276. 

' Ibid., XIII., Pt. I. 371. < Ibid., XIII., Pt. I. 152. 

* Ibid., XIII., Pt. I. 519. 


imprisonment of those who returned them. Lee, to protect 
himself beforehand from complaints of his hard dealing, wrote to 
Cromwell, urging that, if the country was to be kept in order, 
punishment must be inflicted, for by the common law things so 
far out of order could never be redressed.^ 

The records of the remaining years of Lee's Presidency show 
a decided improvement in the condition of the country under his 
charge. In 1539 he wrote from Wigmore that he had no news 
to send, for all was quiet, and again, " All is quiet here, and 
never better " ; and yet another time, " No news, the county of 
Chester we, at our late being there, have set in good stay."^ 
One of the special duties of the Council this year was to take 
measures for the defence of the coast and the construction of 
harbour works in Pembrokeshire. Lord Ferrers, writing to the 
Lord President and Mr. Justice Sulyard, says : " We never saw 
subjects more willing to serve the king, if they may have 
ordnance, horses and harness for their money.^ The entries 
concerning crime are comparatively few : e.g. John Thomas ap 
Rice of Kedewen, belonging to Lord Ferrers, committed felony 
and manslaughter, and fled. Lee urged Cromwell to stop any suit 
to the king for his pardon, on the ground that to hang such a 
gentleman in his county for such an off'ence would save twenty 
men's lives and do more good than to hang a hundred petty 
wretches.^ Sundry notices as to murders, seditious words, and 
riot occur, but it is clear that the country was now comparatively 
orderly.^ One beneficial change was that Staff'ord was made a 
sanctuary town instead of Chester, which, through its neigh- 
bourhood to AVales and the sea, had given malefactors many 
opportunities of escape.^ 

In the year 1539 Lee lost an energetic helper, Sir Richard 
Herbert, " the best of his name that I know. I have as great 
loss of him as though I had lost one of my arms, in governing 
Powes, Kery, Kedewen, and Cloones land." Next year came 

' Gairdner XIII., Pt. I. 1411. - Ibid., XIV., Pt. I. 97S, 49, 1289. 

' Ibid., XIV., Pt. I. 696. ^ Ibid., XIV., Pt. II. 384. 

" Ibid., XV. 557 ; XVI. 546; XVII. 53, 802. 

« Ibid.,YM\\. 357. 


two more serious losses through the deaths of Sir William 
Sulyard and Justice Porte. Lee sends the tidings to Cromwell, 
urging that he may have learned men in their places, for none 
other are any help. He complains of the intolerable burden 
of hearing causes every holy day and week day for three parts 
of the year with but one colleague, and adds that this toil 
has " brought many honest men to their death." ^ 

Lee's own labours were nearly over. His name occurs in the 
Commission of the Peace for Worcestershire and Gloucestershire in 
15.'! 2, and letters were addressed to him by the Privy Council 
in March, June, and September of the same year.^ Towards 
the end of January, 1543, he died in the College of St. Chad's, 
Shrewsbury, of which his brother was dean, and was buried 
in St. Chad's Church. An early seventeenth century chronicle 
of Shrewsbury says that he " had brought Wales into civility 
before he died, and had said he would made the white sheep 
keep the black." ^ 

An interesting contemporary reference to Lee is found 
in the history of Ellis Griffith among the Mostyn MSS.* 
He writes, "In the course of the year 1534 there was 
much disorder within the districts of Powys, Kynlleth and 
Mochnant. And at this time the King appointed (Rowland 
Lee) Bishop of Chester as President of his council in that part 
of Wales and give him and his people full authority to administer 
punishment to those who merited it according to their deserts, 
and it is said that over five thousand men were hanged within 
the space of six years, among whom were certain men of the 
guard with the King's liveries on their backs." 

Bishop Lee is best remembered for his stern suppression of 
crime ; but there are other sides to his work that call for notice. 
Amid all his multifarious duties the repairing of castles held a 
prominent place. The year after his appointment he took in 

' Gairdner, XV. 308, 398. 
- Ibid., XVII. 172, 410, 802. 
' Diet. Nat. Biog. (art., Lee). 

^ Hist. MSS. Commission. Reports on MSS., in the Welsh Language, 
Vol. I. 1898. Mostyn MSS., No. 158, Preface, p. ix. (translation). 


hand the repair of Ludlow Castle, and made it fit for his winter 
stay in 1534— 1535. He writes with much satisfaction that he 
has bought eight " fother " of lead and bestowed it on the castle, 
contriving to do as much for ;;^ioo as would have cost the 
King ;!^5oo. His repairs, he says proudly, are such as had 
not been done for a hundred years past.^ Wigmore and Radnor 
needed attention just as much, for the former was "utterly 
decayed in lodging for the want of timely repair," and the latter 
was so ruinous that eight thieves had escaped from it during the 
year.^ " What shall it be for us," asks the zealous President, 
" to take thieves and have no place to keep them ? All cannot 
be brought to Ludlow." He noted with irritation the lack 
of armour and the mismanagement which left castle guns 
without either powder or stones. A confirmation of his opinion 
is given in a letter to Cromwell on the state of Ireland, which 
says : " The bows from Ludlow Castle were naught." ^ By 
1536 Lee had had time to investigate the state of the armour 
at Ludlow and elsewhere, and he drew up a list of remembrances 
for his servant Lewes Johns to take to Cromwell. Lord Ferrers 
had fifty pairs of " Almain rivetts"^ out of the Castle of Ludlow, 
the Earl of Worcester had two hundred pairs at Chepstow. 
There was some harness at Thornbury, but at Ludlow neither 
gun nor powder, only "100 sheaf of arrows and 40 bows little 
worth. Not one string nor axe whereby I could do the King 
service ; 250 Almain rivetts, but neither gorget nor apron of 
mail." "Thank God," he concludes, "the country is quiet."* 
Other castles repaired by Lee were Brecknock, Monmouth, and 

Lee's building zeal led him to commit many acts of vandalism. 
Thus he and Sulyard received a commission to suppress Wigmore 

' Gairdner, VII. I151; VII. 1393, 1409; VIII. 861,947; IX. 841. 

" Ibid., Vn. 1 57 1. 

3 Ibid., VIII. 226. 

■* Moveable rivets first made in Germany, whence the bodj- armour to 
which they were applied was so called (Mej-rick, Antient Armour, 1824, 
Vol. II., p. 292). 

* Gairdner, X. 259. 

= Ibid., X. 754, 1 178; XII., Pt. II. 896; XIII., Pt. I. 1287. 


Abbey, and had a warrant for stones, iron, lead, and glass for 
the repair of the king's castles.^ Money was hard to come by, 
and Lee eagerly seized on any stone or lead that came in his 
way, lamenting the number of places where it was needed.^ 
" There is a piece of Breknoke Castle fallen, and another piece 
at Chyrke, and all must be done : God send money." Some- 
times he scrapes together a few pounds out of forfeitures ; e.g. 
he asks Cromwell if he may have the goods of a certain murderer 
for the repair of Ludlow. Their value is only about -£/\o or 
_;^5o. and something must be deducted for the relief of the 
widow and children ; but Lee is eager to get what he can.^ 
The old friary at Ludlow yielded some material, too, for Thomas 
Vernon, descended from the founders, had discovered hidden 
in a ditch at the back of the house sundry articles wrapped 
up in an old stocking. The contents of the stocking (what 
were they, one wonders ?) were used for the rebuilding of 
Montgomery Castle, one of the keys of Wales.* 

The year 1539 was one of great activity in building and 
defence.^ Among Cromwell's Remembrances that year occurs 
the writing of a letter to the Lord President and Council of 
Wales for the fortifying and viewing of Milford Haven. The 
Council on the Tuesday after Palm Sunday was upon the 
mountains of Wales on the borders of Meleneth (co. Radnor), 
where Lee saw " many tall men and good hearts, but little 
armour." ^ Lord Ferrers was active in setting in order the 
ordnance towns of Pembrokeshire, and making the people repair 
the gates and " garnish " the walls with stones for lack of 
ordnance. He also set up beacons, saw to the repair of the 
bulwarks, and surveyed Milford Haven to the mouth of the sea.^ 
Sir Richard Bulkeley, writing to Cromwell about the same time, 
says that in the execution of his commission under the Great 
Seal for the survey of the sea-coasts, he has found the king's 
castles in North Wales wholly unfurnished with the means of 

' Gairdner, XIII., Pt. II. 736; cf. XIV., Pt. I. 86. 

■' Ibid., XIV., Pt. I. 155. 3 ji,icl,^ XV. 562 (2). 

' Ibid., XIII., Pt. I. 1287. ^ Ibid., XIV., Pt. I. 655. 

" Ibid., XIV. ,Pt. I. 722. ' Ibid., XIV. Pt. I. 696. 


defence. Conway, Carnarvon, and Harlech Castles could not 
be held for an hour against an enemy, and Anglesey was utterly 
defenceless, owing to its exposed situation and the difficulty of 
sending help. A letter from the city authorities of Chester to the 
Commissioners in the Marches gives much the same account : 
there was no ordnance, and the neighbouring ports were open. 
These notices of the activity of the Council in building and 
fortification show how much administrative as well as judicial 
work devolved upon it. 

During the years of Lee's Presidency the new arrangements 
for the government of Wales under the statute 27 H. VIII., c. 26 
(1536), were being carried out.^ Incidental notices occur of the 
loss occasioned to the Lords Marchers by this Act. Henry, 
Lord Stafford, writing to Cromwell, states that it will lessen his 
income by ;!^2o, and pleads for the farm of the abbey of Rantone 
(near Stafford) if it be dissolved. Even the king had said " it 
was alms to help me, having so many children on my hands." ^ 
Lord Powys had suffered by the loss of his liberties in Powysland, 
and though he had been partly recompensed by the gift of 
certain monasteries, yet Lee begs Cromwell for his further 

The carrying out of the Shiring Act seems to have been 
a matter of some uncertainty. John Salysbury, steward of 
Denbighland, writes wistfully to Cromwell his hope that his 
fees as steward are not diminished by the Act.^ John 
Scudamore, Sheriff of Hereford in 1536, wants to know if he is 
to consider as shire ground certain Marches of Wales annexed 
to his shire, adding that the people are not well furnished, but 
seem willing to serve the king if need be.^ Lee was against the 
change entirely. " There are," he tells Cromwell, " very few 
Welsh in Wales above Brecknock who have ;£io in land, and 
their discretion is less than their land." He draws a dismal 
picture of the "bearing of thieves" which will ensue if the 
statute goes forward, and recalls that Merionethshire and 

' Gairdner, VII. 1377. " Ibid., X. 741. 

=> Ibid., XII., Pt. II. 965. " Ibid., X. 778. 

* Ibid., XI. 1338. 


Cardiganshire are as disorderly as the worst parts of Wales, 
although they are shire ground.^ To the same effect is a docu- 
ment entitled, "Articles proving that it shall be hurtful to the 
commonwealth of the three shires in North Wales, viz. Anglesey, 
Carnarvon and Merioneth, to have Justices of the Peace there." 
The Justices, it is said, will be dangerous, and partiality will 
increase, for the inhabitants are poor and quarrelsome, and 
most of the gentlemen are " bearers of thieves and misruled 
persons." ^ Sir Richard Bulkeley was of the same opinion, for he 
begs Cromwell to stop the Lord Chancellor from appointing any 
Justices of the Peace within the three shires of North Wales, on 
the ground that Dr. Glyn and Edward Gruff would give large 
sums for the office.^ 

Next year (1537) the President and Council were bidden to 
publish the proclamation for enforcing the Act 27, H. VIII., c. 26, 
made for Wales. At the beginning of the year Lee had com- 
plained of the delay in the arrival of this proclamation, for many 
small felonies had in the meantime to remain undespatched.^ The 
execution of the Act seems to have lain with the Lord President. 
Among the business to be laid before the Privy Council is the 
following item : " (9) To despatch Mr. Sulyerd to Wales with an 
instruction to the Lord President and him to put in execution the 
new shiring." ^ By 1539 it seems to have been still incomplete, 
for Lee and Sulyard reminded Cromwell that the time was 
approaching for the king's pleasure to be known as to the shire 
grounds of Wales, and mentioned certain petitions presented to 
the Council by the inhabitants of the said countries.^ A matter 
requirmg some time was the allotment of the towns in the new 
shires.'' In 1540 Denbighland was still not "translated" into 
shire ground. Cromwell wrote to Lee bidding him command 
the Commissioners to proceed in the matter and give his opinion 
as to the expediency of the change. Lee replies with some 
warmth that he was never privy of any such Commission, and 

' Gairdner, X. 453. - Ibid., X. 245. 

^ Ibid., XI. 525. * Ibid., XII., Pt. I., 93, 472. 

5 Ibid., XII., Pt. I. 1091. " Ibid., XIV., Pt. I. 492. 
' Ibid., XIV., Pt. I. S67, c. II. 


trusts his opinion will not be required, " for I am not of that 
perfectness to know what shall chance in time coming." ^ But 
in spite of Lee's disapproval, the changes proceeded, and his 
gloomy forebodings were not fulfilled. 

Lee's term of office cannot be described without some 
reference to the attitude of Wales towards the great religious 
upheaval which followed Wolsey's fall. From incidental notices 
it is clear that there was much discontent and resistance to 
religious innovations. The "light Welshman" who in 1535 
spoke words of the king ^ is by no means an isolated instance. 
We hear of " seditious words and unsitting demeanour " on 
the part of two monks in Worcester Priory; of a "wretch" 
(born in Portugal, however) who spoke seditious words against 
the king and queen ; and of the parson of Llanlledan who 
asserted that "the King's grace hath robbed us and now he 
robbeth the saints," adding that " the King is a fiend and 
hath mighty councillors."^ Various letters to Charles V. speak 
of Welsh disaffection: Martin de Cornoga, in 1534, says that 
the whole of Wales is devoted to the house of Reginald Pole ; 
that on account of their love for the Princess (Mary) and the 
death of don Ris (Rhys ap Griffith ap Rhys ap Thomas), who 
was beheaded three years ago (1531), the whole province is 
alienated from the king.* Chapuys, at about the same time, 
wrote that Kildare had received help from Wales, as well as 
from Scotland, in his rebellion.^ A little later he writes to the 
same effect as Cornoga — viz. that the Welsh are angry at the 
ill-treatment of the queen and princess, and also at what is 
done against the faith, for they have always been good Christians. 
It is said, he concludes, that the people only wait for a chief 
to take the field. Yet again he tells his master, " The distress 
of the people is incredible, especially the Welsh, from whom, 
by Act of Parliament, the king has just taken away their native 
laws, customs, and privileges, which is the very thing they can 

' Gairdner, XV. 494. - Ibtd.^ VIII. 509. 

= Ibid., IX. 108; XII., Pt. II. 1057, and Pt. I. 1202 (2); and cf. Pt. I. 
969 ; XIII., Pt. I. 358. 

^ Ibid., VII. 1040. 5 Ibid., VII. 1368. 


endure least patiently. I wonder how the King dared do it 
during these troubles in Ireland, except that God wishes so 
to blind him." 

The possible junction of Wales and Ireland is mentioned in 
an account of a conversation between two Charterhouse monks. 
" And what think ye of Wales ? Their noble and gentle ap 
Ryce so cruelly put to death and he innocent, as they say, in 
the cause. I think not contrary but they will join and take 
part with the Irish and so invade our realm." ^ Chapuys 
declares that on the frontiers of Wales and of the North they 
were making great efforts to muster the men demanded by 
the Earl of Ossory; but there was scarcely anyone who would 
go, and many were imprisoned for refusal.^ Some slight con- 
firmation of this opinion may be found in the instructions for 
Edward a Beck (1534), which forbid the appointment of a Welsh- 
man as marshal in the Irish army, and speak of the suspicion 
of Welshmen in that war and the kindred which some of the 
captains had there. ^ But there is no doubt that Chapuys was- 
exaggerating to an absurd extent ; Henry's Welsh descent, his 
irresistible personal ascendancy, and Lee's vigorous government 
checked any serious outbreak such as occurred in 1536 in 
Lincolnshire and the North. Chapuys writes to Charles in 1535, 
with an evident desire to make the most of his case, " The 
King is still on the confines of Wales, hunting and traversing 
the country to gain the people. It is said many of the peasants 
where he has passed, hearing the preachers who follow the 
Court, are so much abused as to believe that God has inspired 
the king to separate himself from the wife of his brother : 
but these are mere ' idiotes,' who will return to the truth when 
there is any appearance of remedy." 

As to the execution in 153 1 of Sir Rhys ap Griflith (grandson and 
heir of Sir Rhys ap Thomas) on the charge of treason, it is highly- 
probable that he was unjustly condemned. In the Cambrian- 
Register, Vol. II., pp. 270, et seqq., is a list of the accusations 
brought against him ; they are flimsy enough, and the comments 

• Gairdner, VIII. 609 (iv). = Ibid., VII. 1141. 

3 Ibid., VII. 1574. 


given are ample disproof of criminal intentions. The writer — a 
descendant of Sir Rhys — adds that Queen Elizabeth was " so 
satisfied of the extreme and hard measure offered to Rice Griffith 
that she never looked upon any of his children but as upon 
spectacles of infinite sufferance : insomuch that she would often 
say she was indebted both to justice and her father's honour, 
till she had repaired them. But my grandfather and father after 
him met with hereditarie enemies at court and thus stands our 
case." But whatever the injustice of the sentence, in Wales it 
was clearly not regarded with the resentment intimated by 
Chapuys. On the contrary, Ellis Griffith ^ writes that it was 
looked upon as the visitation of God for the many deeds of 
injustice and spoliation done by his father, grandfather, and great- 
grandfather. "For I heard many people from that part of the 
country (lying between the Tawe and the Towy) say that within 
twenty miles around the place where old Sir Rhys ap Thomas 
dwelt there was not in the possession of the poor yeomen any 
land which, if he fancied it, he did not obtain, either as a 
gratuity or by purchase, without consulting the owners, who 
without doubt heaved oft against him, his children, and his grand- 
children heavy sighs which in the opinion of the many, fell on 
his grandson. Thus do we see the truth of the proverb 
exempHfied, ' The children of the unjust are uprooted,' ' After 
haughtiness a long death.' " 

Some notices as to the religious and intellectual condition of 
Wales appear in the letters of Barlow, Bishop of St. David's, to 
Cromwell. He writes that " superstitious practices " were hard 
to eradicate, especially in remote corners of Wales, and was 
anxious that the See of St. David's might be transferred to 
Carmarthen, where a free grammar-school could be maintained, 
together with a " daily lecture of Holy Scripture, which would 
civilise the Welsh rudeness." ^ The need of schools is emphasised 
in a later letter, in which Cromwell is assured that the king's 

' Hist. MSS. Commission. Reports on MSS. in the Welsh Language, 
Vol. I. 1S9S. Mostyn MSS., No. 158, Preface, p. ix. (translation of 
f. 492 b). 

2 Gairdner, XIII., Pt. I. 634. 


attempts for the reformation of his subjects will never succeed in 
Wales unless " schools of erudition " are provided in divers 
places of his diocese. He had the effrontery to add that there 
is now scarcely a learned man in Wales except those his 
" poverty " has provided for.^ Bishop Barlow was scarcely the 
man to commend any religious change, whether to the learned 
or to the ignorant. His " poverty " rapidly became wealth — at 
the expense of the see he maligned. The roof of St. David's 
Palace went to provide his daughters with dowries, and the rich 
manor of Lamphey was alienated for the benefit of his godson. 
It is small wonder that the Reformation found a cold welcome 
in Wales, when advocated by a time-serving hypocrite. 

Lee's interest in the Reformation movement was, as might be 
expected, of a lukewarm character. He took things as he found 
them, and submissively carried out the king's very variable will. 
The bishop, who could write without any apparent compunction 
that he " had never heretofore been in a pulpit," but would 
execute in his own person and by others the declaration for 
preaching against the usurped power of the Bishop of Rome, is 
perhaps the most striking example, even under the Tudors, of 
the secularised prelate. In this same letter ^ Lee shows clearly 
enough what was his first desire — the enforcement of order in 
Wales. He passes with all speed from the evidently uncongenial 
task of preaching to the account of justice done on the robbers 
of churches. Still, he carried out the king's injunctions with his 
usual business-like thoroughness, in spite of delay, due to his 

' Gairdner,XIII., Pt. II., in, 1072; cf. XVI. 503(30). Barlowwas Bishop 
of St. David's from 1536 to I549. He quarrelled with his Chapter, who sent 
up a series of articles addressed to the President of the Council of the 
Marches denouncing him as a heretic (Diet. Nat. Biog.). 

- This letter is so characteristic of Lee that it deserves to be quoted in 
full : " Yesternight I received the king's letter for preaching against the 
usurped power of the bishop of Rome. That no dissimulation might appear 
in me, nor anything contrary to my promise, I will send for my horses and 
repair to my diocese ; and in my own person, though I was never hereto- 
fore in pulpit and by others, will execute the declaration. Let me know 
your mind by the bearer in certain points. I shall leave Mr. Englefield sole. 
You will perceive what justice has been done upon robbers of churches, &c. 
Gloucester, 7 June " (Gairdner, VIII. 839). 


being engaged in enforcing order and quietness. His clergy were 
bidden to support the royal supremacy, to provide a Bible in 
Latin and English in every parish church, to preach diligently, 
to publish the Paternoster, Ave^ and Creed in English in the 
pulpit every Sunday, and to enforce the regulations against 
gaming and against confessing to friars.^ 

An instance of the manner in which the royal injunctions were 
received in Wales is given in the information given before the 
Council in the Marches against R. Hale, of the parish of 
Llangeveny, Anglesey, for repining against the king's injunctions 
as " sinister and clear gone out of the faith." ^ 

Some further light on the working of the Council is thrown 
by incidental notices of the civil cases with which it dealt. We 
■find that the Lord President and Council had to examine such 
matters as the pension of the Abbot of Pershore, the title of 
lands in the lordship of Romney, South Wales, and the validity 
of a patent granted to the ganger in the city of Chester.^ The 
causes that came before the king's Commissioners were sometimes 
trifling in the extreme — e.g. a certain Richard of Leytewich writes 
that his wife has been accustomed time out of mind to kneel 
on the north side of the church of D(avenham ?) in Cheshire, till 
Saturday, June 13th, 1534, when sundry persons, by the procure- 
ment of Dr. Bekynshaw, entered the church, cut up the said seat, 
and carried it away. The Commissioners are petitioned to send 
the king's letters to the doctor, that he may meddle no further.* 
Some interest attaches to a letter from Thomas Lord La Warr to 
Cromwell, asking for his favour in a claim against Sir Richard 
Harberd (Herbert) for land in the honour of Brecknock. Herbert 
is one of the King's Council in those parts, and the writer is sure 
that he would have but little favour.® Later evidence shows that 
partiality was a charge often brought against the members of the 
Welsh Council. 

Something must also be said of the petitions addressed to the 
Council during Lee's term of office. Of special importance is 

1 Gairdner, XIII., Pt. I. 1197. ^ /^,^_ xill., Pt. II. 1037. 

3 Ibid., VII. 808, 1646; XII., Pt. II. S17 

< Ibid., VII. 835. ' Ibid., VII. 482. 


that from the " inhabitants of the Marches in the Welshery," 
praying (i) that lands, etc., may not descend by gavelkind, but 
to the eldest son or heir male, and, in default, may be divided 
among the issue female ; (2) that there may be a chancery at 
Ludlow or Wigmore; (3) that there may be a general pardon 
for all offences done, and arrearages due before the Act 26 
H. VIIL, c. ii.i 

With this may be compared a petition from " certain persons 
in the counties and lordships lately appointed to be the shire 
of Montgomery." - The main points touched on are the abolition 
of gavelkind, the duties of sheriffs, pleas, the oppression exer- 
•cised by the Lords Marchers, their greed of fines and escheats, 
the hearing of suits between the King's Council in the 
Marches, and complaints of subpoenas. Instances also occur of 
petitions addressed to the Council by city authorities — e.g. Chester 
addresses the " President of the Council in the Marches of Wales 
and the other commissioners thereof " in reference to the blocking 
of access to the city by sand-bars, and to the suspension till next 
Parliament of a statute touching a new custom.^ So, too, the 
city of Coventry petitioned the Lord President to use his influence 
in averting the rumoured destruction of the Cathedral Church, 
" to the great defacing of the town and inconvenience to the 
inhabitants in time of plague." Lee wrote strongly, urging as 
pleas for its preservation his own honour as bishop and the 
benefit to the town ; but in vain.^ 

Under Lee's stern government Wales undoubtedly became 
more orderly. Besides the indications given in his own letters, 
there may be instanced the fact that Welshmen could be safely 
employed in suppressing the Lincolnshire rising of 1536, while 
it was proposed to send letters to the King's Council in the 
Marches, to take measures against the great Northern Rebellion 
of the same year.^ The success of the Welsh Council seemed 

' Gairdner, VII. 1456. 

2 Ibid., X. 1244; cf. X. 251, and Harl. MS. 368, S. 178, 179. 

' Ibid., XI. 1453 ; cf. Harl. MSS., f. 177. 

* Ibid., XIV., Pt. I. 34. ' Ibid., XI. 849, 580. 


so great that after the suppression of the Pilgrimage of Grace the 
Council of the North was established with very similar powers. 
The condition of Wales presented a great contrast to that of 
Ireland, where problems in government existed that were similar 
in kind, though very different in degree. In a paper headed 
"for the reformation of Ireland" (1542) it is stated that " Wales 
is true to the Crown, because not under one ruler, but several 
in each shire ; so would Ireland be under seneschals and 
justices." ^ The rule of Lee and Englefield was, in fact, regarded 
as a model for later Lords President in the days when the 
Council's administration grew slack. Lee's work, needless to 
say, was roughly done : Welsh names found no more favour with 
him than Welsh thieves, and the cutting off of the long string of 
ap's in legal proceedings is as well remembered in Wales as the 
tradition of " Bishop Rowland's justice." ^ 

' Gairdner, XVII. 68. 

' Cf. Pennant, Tour in Wales, 8vo edit. I., p. 17: "Before I quit the 
House (Tremostyn) I must take notice that Thomas ap Richard ap Howel 
ap Jevan Vychan, lord of Mostyn, and his brother Piers, founder of the 
famil}' of Trelaere, were the first to abridge their name and that on the 
following occasion. Rowland Lee, Bishop of Lichfield and President of 
the Marches of Wales, in the reign of Henry VIII. sat at one of the Courts 
on a Welsh cause, and wearied with the quantity of Ap's in the jury, 
directed that the panel should assume their last name or that of their 
residence ; and that Thomas ap Richard ap Howel ap Jevan Vychan 
should for the future be reduced to the poor dissyllable Mostyn, no doubt 
to the great mortification of many an ancient line." 



Comparatively little is known of the history of the Council 
in the Marches for several years after the death of Bishop Lee. 
He Avas succeeded in both his bishopric and ofiEice as Lord 
President by Richard Sampson, who in 1548 was followed by 
the Duke of Northumberland. Next came Sir William Herbert 
(1550-3), who in 155 1 became Earl of Pembroke, and then 
Nicholas Heath, Bishop of Worcester (1553-5). The Earl of 
Pembroke held office a second time between 1555 and 1558, 
and was followed by Gilbert Bourne, Bishop of Bath and Wells, 
in 1558, and by Lord Williams of Thame in 1558-9. The last- 
named died at Ludlow on October 14th, 1559. None of these 
Lords President, with the exception of the Earl of Pembroke, 
seem to have left any definite mark in Wales ; many of them 
held office for a very short time, and in all probability rarely 
visited the districts over which the Council's jurisdiction extended. 
Such information as is extant is mainly drawn from the Acts of 
the Privy Council, which serve to show that the supervision 
exercised by that body over Wales and the Marches was minute 
and constant.^ 

The Lord President, as in Lee's time, was much occupied in 
defending the coast. Under the year 1545 is an order respecting 
beacons and preparations against invasions in the Welsh Marches.^ 

' Among the special duties of the Secretary of State was the supervision 

of the Welsh Council, sqq. State Papers (Domestic), Eliz., CCLXXIV., p. 1 18. 

- Acts of the Privy Council (abbreviated henceforth as A.P.C.), Vol. Ij, 

P- 195 (1545)- 

81 6 


In 1546 Bishop Sampson was requested to see to the guns for 
bulwarks lately made at Milford Haven.^ Piracy, too, had to be 
repressed,^ and murderers who fled from neighbouring counties 
into Wales had to be apprehended.^ A few references occur 
to the decision of disputes respecting tithes, etc.* On the 
accession of Edward VI. the instructions for the proceedings 
of the President and Council of the Marches were renewed, and 
sundry changes were made in the Council's composition.^ In 
the same year a complaint was made that Bishop Sampson was 
" partially aff'ected " in a certain case which was therefore revoked 
to London.^ In April, 1549, the Presidents of the Councils of 
York and Wales were ordered to apprehend all those who had 
received coat-and-conduct money and then stolen away privately 
without leave.'' 

Sir William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, had a closer connec- 
tion with Wales and the Marches than most of the Lords 
President. His father was Sir Richard Herbert, of Ewyas, 
Herefordshire, and his mother was the daughter of Sir Matthew 
Cradock, of Swansea. His grandfather, Sir William Herbert, had 
been a strong Yorkist, and was executed after Edgecote in 1469. 
The high place he occupied in the royal favour gave him not 
only the rich estates at Wilton, but also Cardiff Castle and large 
lands in Wales. His Welsh followers were employed to suppress 
disturbances in the West in 1549, and their help was soon after- 
wards sought by Somerset in his quarrel with Warwick. His 
appointment as Lord President was therefore very natural, and 
he seems to have served his sovereign as well in this as in his 
other offices. In one respect he was a curious contrast to the 
clerics, who had hitherto held the office of Lord President, for 
he could neither read nor yet write beyond signing his name in 
capital letters. It is said, too, that the only language he knew 
well was Welsh, and that in the Calais negotiations of 1555 he 

1 A.P.C., Vol I., p. 385 (1546). - Ibid., p. 415 (1546). 

3 Ibid., p. 520 (1546). ■* Ibid., pp. 531, 547 C1546). 

5 Ibid., Vol. II., p. 44 (1547)- * Ibid., Vol. II., p. 487 (1547). 

' S.P.D., Ed. VI., Vol. III., Ap., 1549 (p. 397, No. 28, Calendar of Addi- 
tional Papers, 1547-65, and Elizabeth, 1601-3). 


was nearly useless. But the strong-set, bony, reddish-favoured 
Welshman, with his sharp eye and stern look, was clearly the 
man to continue the work that Lee had begun. In 155 1, the 
year after his appointment, he was directed by the Privy Council 
to see the proclamation for the " furniture " of the markets 
observed, and to make proclamation for the reformation of 
felonies committed in Wales. ^ In 1552 and 1553 he was 
appointed Commissioner for Lieutenantship — a matter of some 
interest, as showing that the new office of Lord Lieutenant was 
to be linked with the older office of Lord President.^ In the 
same year Pembroke was replaced in the last-named capacity 
by Nicholas Heath, Bishop of Worcester, who held office from 
1553 to 1555, years when the Earl of Pembroke was busily 
engaged in great affairs of State, and indeed was reported 
by the Venetian Ambassador to be the chief personage in 

In 1555 Pembroke resumed office, 'but he does not seem to 
have visited Wales and the Marches often, if at all. He was 
represented by a Vice-President, William Symonds, with satis- 
factory results, to judge from a letter written by the Council 
thanking Symonds and two of his colleagues for their diligence 
in the maintenance of good rule and order within the Marches 
and the twelve shires of Wales.* During these years an evil 
began which later on proved somewhat serious — viz. that un- 
authorised persons acted as attorneys to the encouragement, 
doubtless, of the litigiousness which then, as now, was a marked 
Welsh characteristic.^ Among matters coming before the 
Council of the Marches were a riot in Glamorgan committed 
by Sir George Herbert, and sundry cases of murder and escape 
of prisoners.*^ In August, 1558, the Earl of Pembroke wrote to 
the queen, acknowledging her letter to the effect that the Marches 

' A.P.C., Vol. III., p. 427 (1551). 

== Ibid., Vol. IV., pp. 50, 278 (1552-3). 

^ Diet. Nat. Biog. (art., Sir William Herbert). 

* A.P.C., Vol. VI., pp. 49, 155, 172, 175, 277. 

" Ibid., Vol. VI., p. 49. 

« Ibid., Vol. VI., pp. 183, 236, 350. 


of Wales were in disorder for want of a President residing there.^ 
He was quite willing to resign, but declined to nominate his 
successor. In October, 1558, the following letter was addressed 
to Gilbert Bourne, Bishop of Bath and Wells, appointing him to 
the otrice vacated by Pembroke. 

"28 Oa. 1558. 

"By the Queene [i.e. Mary]. 

" Right reuerend father in God. Right trustie and welbeloved 
wee greet you well. And whearas our Countrey and Marches of 
Wales is presentely without a lord president, the lacke wherof in 
the due administracion of Justice and the good orderinge of that 
Cuntry may be a great hinderance to our seruice and the quiet 
of our Lovinge subiectes ther : we lett you witt that knowinge your 
wisdome, discretion and uprightnes, fidelitie and redy good will 
to serue us, we haue especially appointed and authorized you like 
as by I'res p'ntes we doe appoint and authorize you to be our 
president of our sayd Councell in our sayd Marches. And therfor 
will and require you forthwith to put your selfe in order and 
redines to repaire with all the conuenient speed you may to our 
said Marches for the sayd purpose, and ther to use and order all 
thinges for the aduancement of Justice and of our seruice as 
appertaineth to the office and duty of our president, accordinge 
to the speciall trust we haue repossed in you." ^ 

At the same time Bourne was licensed to absent himself from 
the Parliament which was to be holden by prorogation on 
November 5th, and to send a proxy. His term of office was 
very brief, as might be expected from his refusal to fall in with 
Elizabeth's changes as regards religion. He was succeeded in 
February (?), 1559, by Lord Williams of Thame, the office of Vice- 
President being held by Sir Hugh Paulet.^ The exact date of 
the document giving this information is uncertain, but it cannot 

' S.P.D., 1547-80, Vol. XIII. (Mary), p. io6, August, 1558, No. 63. 

" Cottonian MSS., Vitellius, C. i., f. 207. This letter shows the incorrect- 
ness of the statement in Diet. Nat. Biog., Vol. VI., p. 28, that Bourne was 
made Lord President of the Welsh Marches in 1554. 

' S.P.D., 1547-80, Vol. I. (Eliz.), p. 123, February (?), 1559. 


be later than February, 1559, for on March 5th a warrant was 
issued for payment of the diets, etc., of Lord Williams of Thame 
and the Council of the Marches. On March 17th, 1559, Lord 
Williams was seriously ill, for Lord Paget wrote to Sir William 
Cecil that he was very sick and not likely to recover ; he added 
a request that the office might be bestowed on himself.^ In 
April the Queen wrote to the Bailiff and Jurats of Jersey (where 
Paulet then was) that his services were needed for a while in 
the Marches of Wales, and that his son Amias had been appointed 
as lieutenant in Jersey in his absence.^ On June 25th Sir Hugh 
Paulet wrote to Cecil that he had received letters from the Lord 
President of Wales to meet him at Worcester. He gladly 
resigned his charge in the Marches, as he was anxious to go 
back to Jersey. He enclosed a letter from Lord Williams (dated 
June 1 8th) stating that he had received his commission and 
instructions as Lord President, and would meet Paulet and the 
Council at Worcester.^ Lord Williams had clearly recovered, 
at least partially, but in October, 1559, he died at Ludlow, and 
was succeeded, not, fortunately, by the grasping Paget, but by 
Sir Henry Sydney. 

The Presidency of Sir Henry Sydney lasted for more than 
a quarter of a century — from 1559 to 1586. Bishop Lee had 
made himself feared by his rigorous suppression of crime ; 
Sydney made himself loved by his justice and mercy. The 
spirit in which he executed his office is seen in his words, written 
when its term was drawing to a close : " Great it is that in 
some sort I govern the third part of this realm under her most 
excellent Majesty ; high it is for by that I have precedence of 
great personages and by far my betters ; happy it is for the 
goodness of the people whom I govern ; and most happy it is for 
the commodity I have, by the authority of that place, to do good 
every day." He was the son of Sir William Sydney of Pen- 
shurst, who had held many important offices under Henry VHI., 

' S.P.D., Cal. 1547-80, p. 126, Vol. III. (Eliz.), March 17th, 1558-9. 
- Ibid., Eliz., Vol. IX., April 25th, 1559 (p. 490, No. 20, Calendar of 
Additional Papers, 1547-65, and Elizabeth, 1601-3). 
^ Ibid., Cal. 1547-80, p. 132, June 25th, 1559. 


including those of Chamberlain and Steward to Prince Edward. 
As a boy Henry was the Prince's constant companion, and 
it was in his arms that the young king died. In 1550 he was 
knighted on the same day as William Cecil ; soon afterwards 
he was sent to France as ambassador, and on his return he 
married the Lady Mary Dudley, daughter of the Earl of 
Northumberland and sister of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester. 
During Mary's reign he enjoyed less favour than under his friend 
Edward VL, but he was made Vice-Treasurer and General 
Governor of Lish Revenues, and for a time served in Ireland 
as Lord Justice. 

Sir Henry's life, written by Edward Molyneux, has been 
incorporated in Holinshed's Chronicle.^ It was a life of much 
sorrow and yet of much joy. Many of his best years were spent 
in the weary task of crushing Irish rebellion. During his first 
tenure of office as Lord Deputy (1565-7) he had to cope 
with Shane O'Neill. On his death in 1567 Sydney came back 
to England, but was coldly received, owing to the fact that his 
patron Leicester was for the time out of favour. Next year, 
reluctantly enough, he returned to Ireland, and this time his 
enemies were Fitzmaurice and others of the Butler family. In 
15 7 1 he laid down his thankless charge and came home, spending 
the next four years partly at Court and partly in Wales or the 
Marches. In 1575 he was for the third time appointed Lord 
Deputy with a free hand : ;^2o,ooo per annum was to be paid 
to him in quarterly instalments. But he failed to govern as 
cheaply as Elizabeth expected, and in 1578 he was recalled, 
with broken health and impaired fortunes.^ Gratitude was not 
a Tudor virtue, and Elizabeth showed little to the man who 
had spent the best years of his life on a task hard enough in 
itself, but made harder than it need have been by unwise 
parsimony. His wife, too, the Lady Mary, deserved some favour 
from the Queen, whom she had nursed through smallpox, catching 
the disease herself, to the loss of all her beauty. Yet no reward 

' Vol. III., p. 1548, b. 10 (sub anno 1586). 
- Diet. Nat. Biog. 


came — " not so much ground as I can cover with my foot," and 
all his fees amounted to less than a hundred marks a year. 
" It was his hard fortune," writes his biographer, " to have his 
services subject to the Ear and not to the Eye, wherby his 
noble Virtues and Merits were sometimes undervalued and 
disregarded, and consequently his services liable to Misreport, 
Slander and Calumniation ; as appears from his Letters to the 
Queen and her Council," .... "in these services he spent 
his Youth and his whole Life, sold his Lands and consumed 
much of his Patrimony to the great Hinderance of his Posterity, 
without any great Recompense or Reward." ^ 

Sydney's happiest years were probably spent in the Marches, 
mostly at Ludlow, where his activity can be traced in many 
of the existing buildings. Here his children Philip and Mary 
spent most of their childhood ; their sister Ambrozia died in 
the castle, and was buried in St. Lawrence's Church, where her 
monument may still be seen.^ The castle, with its memories 
of baron and prince, was a fitting home for the boy, who in 
after life became the model of all knightly virtues, and for the 
Mary Herbert of later days, whom Spenser called the " ornament 
of all womenkind," and on whom Ben Jonson wrote his undying 
epitaph. Sir Henry and Lady Mary paid many visits to 
Shrewsbury, where their son Philip attended the Grammar 
School, then the most noted in the kingdom. The tenderness 
of the man — all the more remarkable in an age when home-life 
was mostly stern and often cruel — comes out, more than anywhere 
else, perhaps, in the letter to "my litell Philippe."^ 

Sir Henry had in truth the qualities most needed in the offices 

' Collins, Sydney Papers, p. 93. 

^ Cf. Churchyard, Worthines of Wales (ed. 1776, reprinted from the 
edition of 1587), pp. 76-8. Ludloe Towne, Church and Castle ; "The Lord 
President Sir Harrie Sidney's daughter called Ambrosia is entombed here 
in most bravest manner and great chargeable workmanship on the right 
hand of the Altar." 

^ Collins, Letters and Memorials of State, pp. 8, 9. The last sentence 
but one is as follows : " Well (my litell Philippe) this is ynough for me and 
to muche I fear for you." The date of the letter is 1566, when Philip was 
twelve years old. 


he filled — firmness and sympathy. He could, when necessary, 
be as firm as Bishop Lee himself, but he had in addition a 
real sympathy with the oppressed Celtic populations over whom 
he ruled. The Irish and the Welsh of the sixteenth century 
found few indeed who understood them, but among those few 
Sydney holds the highest place. Wherever he sojourned, we 
are told, he had that " gallant Behaviour and Comeliness of 
Person, as gained him the Hearts of many and such universal 
Esteem of all Sorts of People to him, that they were ever 
desirous of his Aboad with them."^ He cared for the past 
history of Wales, and it was due to his encouragement that 
Powel's History of Wales was published in 1584.^ Both in 
Dublin and at Ludlow he took much pains to preserve ancient 
records.^ Another of his interests was building : not only 
Ludlow, but also Wigmore and Montgomery Castles and 
Bewdley House bore traces of his work. During his residence 
in the Marches he left more permanent memorials of himself 
in his upright administration of justice, and he could say with 
honest pride, " A better country to govern Europe holdeth not." 
Sir Fulke Greville had ample justification for thus summing up 
his career : " Sir Henry Sydney was a Man of excellent naturall 
Wit, large Heart, sweet Conversation : and such a Governor 
as sought not to make an End of the State in himself, but to 
plant his own Ends in the Prosperity of his Countrey. Witnes 

^ Collins, Sydney Papers, p. 90. 

■■^ Sydney had in his possession a copy of the unfinished History of Cambria 
by Humphrey Lloyd, and induced Dr. David Powel to publish it with 
additions. — The Cambrian Plutarch, pp. 299, ct seqq. 

^ The description of Sydney's Irish Record Office is worth quoting. He 
found the Irish records " in an open Place subject to Wind, Rain and all 
Weather and so neglected that they were taken for common Uses. Where- 
upon with great Care and Diligence he caused them to be perused and 
sorted and placed within the Castle of Dublin, in a Room well boarded, with 
a chimney for a Fire, so that neither by the Moisture of the Walls or any 
other Means, they could receive Prejudice. And several Divisions were 
made for laying them separate ; and one of Discretion and Skill appointed 
to look after them, with an Assignment for his labour." Perhaps this 
enlightened act was one of the "extravagances" which brought Sydney 
into trouble. Collins, Sydney Papers, p. 90. 


his sound Establishments both in Wales and Ireland, where his 
Memory is worthily grateful unto this day." ^ 

During Sydney's term of office lengthy instructions were 
issued for the guidance of the Council in the Marches. The 
first issue was in 1574, and in 1576 and 1577 additional orders 
were sent down.^ They are of great importance as showing how 
much the Council's work had developed since the instructions 
to the Princess's Council in 1525. They furnished a model 
for all later issues, especially that of 1586 to the Earl of 
Pembroke, Sydney's successor. The preamble states that Her 
Majesty, " much desiring the continuance of quietness and good 
government of the people and the inhabitants within the 
Dominion and Principality of Wales and the Marches of the same, 
for good and indifferent administration of justice to be there 
had between party and party, intendeth the continuance of her 
right honourable Council in the Marches of Wales," and appoints 
Sir Henry Sydney as Lord President. Then follows the list 
of the Councillors, twenty in number, including the Bishops of 
Hereford, Worcester, Bangor, St. David's, and St. Asaph ; Sir 
James Croft, the Comptroller of Her Majesty's Household ; Sir 
John Throgmorton, Justice of Chester ; and George Bromley, Esq., 
Justice of North Wales. These are directed to do unto Her 
Majesty " such service as they can best to her Highnes con- 
tentation and to the dischardge of their duties, laying aside all 
respects and affections in all matters, although the same may 
touch their kinsmen, friends, servants or any others, when and 
as often as they shall be appointed or required, by L. Presi- 
dent, Vice-President and Council, for their presence or assistance, 
for the furtherance of her Majesties service." The members ap- 
pointed to continual attendance were Sir J. Throgmorton and the 
Secretary Charles Fox, save that the former might be absent in 
the two vacation times between Lent and Trinity and Trinity 
and Michaelmas terms, when the Justices of Chester and North 

' Collins, Sydney Papers, p. 96; cf. what the Archbishop of Dublin said 
of Sydney : " In all the realm there was no such pilot in stormy weather." 

- Lansdowne MSS. 155, p. 2226-496 (present numbering); see Clive's 
Ludlow, pp. 309-52. 


Wales rode their circuits. Tlie Lord President or Vice-President 
might call to him at his discretion any other members of the 
Council, who, if they had no other regular fee allowed them, 
were to receive at least 6^. Sd. for each day of their attendance. 

After other regulations as to the stipends of individual 
councillors, the instructions proceed to enumerate the Council's 
powers. The Council as a body, or two of them at least (of 
whom the Lord President or Vice-President was to be one) were 
empowered to hear and determine "by their discretions, all 
manner of complaints and petitions, as well wnthin the liberties 
of her Majesty's Duchy of Lancaster, the cities of Gloucester, 
Worcester, and Hereford, Salop and Monmouth, the county of 
the city of Gloucester, the county of the town of Haverford West 
and within all the cities, towns, franchises and liberties within 
the liberties of their commissions, concerning as well the titles of 
lands and other hereditaments, as also personal, real or mixt 
actions,^ causes or matters, civil or criminal, exhibited or put 
unto them by any poor persons, that shall manifestly appear not 
to be able to sue or defend after the course of the common law, 
or by any person like to be oppressed by maintenance, riches, 
strength, power, degree or afifinity of the parties adversaries. 
And the same actions, causes or matters, and every of them, to 
examine, hear and determine, as well by depositions and ex- 
aminations of witnesses, to be discreetly and sincerely taken, as 
by all other kinds of process, and all other good means and ways, 
by their discretions." An important caveat was added against 
increasing such suits, especially for title of lands, unless absolutely 
required ; as far as possible they were to be referred to the 
common law. Then follow instructions as to procedure, which 
will be more conveniently dealt with in a later chapter. 

' Action personalis "that which one Man hath against another by reason 
of any Contract for Money or Goods, or for Oftence done by him or some 
other person for whose fact he is bylaw answerable" (Blount). Action real 
is "that whereby the Demandant claims Title to any lands, tenements, rents 
or commons, in fee-simple, fee-tail or for life {Ibid.). Action nti.vt is "that 
which lies indifferently for the thing detained or against the person of the 
detainer, and is so called because it hath a mix'd respect both to the thing 
and the person (Ibid.). 


In addition to determining suits of the nature stated above, 
the Council was to hear and determine all manner of " extortions, 
maintenance, imbraceries, oppressions, conspiracies, escapes, cor- 
ruptions, falsehoods and all other evil doings, defaults and 
misdemeanours of all sheriffs, justices of peace, mayors, bailiffs, 
stewards, lieutenants, escheators, coroners, goalers [sic], clerks 
and other officers and ministers of justice " within the limits 
of their Commission, and punish the same accordingly by fine 
or imprisonment according to the offence. Proclamations might 
be issued as often as the Lord President and Council thought 
good " for the better order and quietness of her Majesty's 
subjects and the repressing of malefactors and misdoers." The 
Council, or three of them at the least (the Lord President or 
Vice-President being one), were to compound for all forfeitures 
arising from breach of penal statutes and breach of obligations 
and recognisances ; they might also assess fines for any offence 
of which persons were convicted before them. All such sums 
were to be duly entered in a book subscribed by the Lord 
President or Vice-President and two of the Council, so that 
the Queen might be answered of them accordingly. One very 
important duty was to examine into charges of perjury committed 
by jurors in the shires of Hereford, Gloucester, Worcester, 
Haverfordwest, or elsewhere within the Council's jurisdiction. 
One of the most common accusations against jurors, especially 
in Wales and the Marches, at this time was that they acquitted 
offenders in the teeth of "good and pregnant evidence." The 
Lord President, Vice-President, and Council, or four at the least, 
were empowered to order that jurors convicted of such wilful 
perjury were to be at the Queen's highness' pleasure for their 
bodies, goods, and chattels. 

The next few clauses are of special interest, as throwing light 
on everyday life in Wales and the Marches. The Lord 
President and Council are bidden " by all their pollicies, ways 
and means they can, to put their good and effectual endeavours 
to repress all manner of murders, felons, burglaries, rapes 
riots, routes, unlawful assemblies, unlawful retainers, regrators 
forestallers, extortioners, conspiracies, maintenances, perjuries of 


what kind soever they be." Misdemeanours of all kinds were 
to be examined by depositions of witnesses and otherwise. 
On sufficient grounds persons accused or known or suspected 
of treason, murder, or felony might at the Council's discretion 
be put to torture. 

This last clause is noteworthy as affording a point of re- 
semblance to Star Chamber procedure. The origin of the 
"riots and routes" referred to above is amply explained by 
the succeeding clause, which runs thus : 

" And whereas divers persons in Wales have commonly used 
heretofore, to go as well to the church, as in fairs, markets and 
other places appointed for justice, in harness and privy coats, 
the Queen's Highnes pleasure is that from henceforth no man 
shall wear neither harness nor privy coats neither in churches, 
fairs, markets or any other place of justice, except such as shall 
be licensed, commanded or authorised by the Queen's Highnes, 
or her honorable Council, or by the Lord President and Council, 
or officer, where any fair, market, or justice place is kept." 

The prevalence of livery is noted in the clause which forbids 
that any of the Council should by any wages, Hveries, badges, 
or recognisances retain or entertain any of Her Majesty's servants, 
" whereby he shall account himself bounden to do unto him or 
under him, other than as to her Majesty's officers (if he be so), 
any manner of service." At each of the principal sittings special 
charge was to be given that no nobleman or gentleman was to 
presume to retain any of Her Majesty's tenants. 

The next clause refers to the " divers lewd and malicious 
persons " who " have heretofore, and of late days, more and 
more spread abroad many false and seditious tales, which 
amongst the people have wrought great inconveniences breeding 
to the danger of uproars." The Council were to use their 
utmost endeavours for the punishment of any so offending : if 
the rumour extended to treason, the law was to be put in force ; 
if it were of less moment, yet of harmful effect, the offenders 
were to be punished " by the pillory, cutting of their ears, whip- 
ping and otherwise by their discretions." Here again is a point 
of resemblance to Star Chamber procedure. 


A clause of great economic interest is the following : 

" Furthermore the said Lord President or Vice-president and 
Council shall, from time to time, make due and diligent in- 
quisition, who hath taken and inclosed any commons or decayed 
tillage, or habitations for husbandry, against the form of the 
laws and statutes. And leaving all respects and affections apart, 
they shall take such order for the redress of the enormities used 
in the same, as the people be not oppressed or lack habitation, 
but that they may live after their sortes and qualities." 

The great scope of the Council's work is seen in the next 
clause but one, which empowers them to execute all manner 
of penal statutes within the realm, proclamations, and other 
ordinances, and to punish the transgressors according to the 
terms of the same. They were also to inquire into cases of 
bribery under colour of assessment of any subsidy, taking of 
musters, or providing of armour or weapons. The guilty parties 
were to make twofold restitution, and suffer fine or imprisonment 
at the Council's discretion. The last clause, dealing with juris- 
diction, empowers the Council to punish all evil-livers, and to 
cause the ordinary in every place within the limits of their 
Commissions to do and execute that which to their office apper- 
taineth, or else to reprehend and also to punish the same 
ordinaries, as the case shall require, according to their discretions. 

The remaining clauses deal with officials, stipends, and fees. 
Allowance was made for " one learned minister to preach and 
use the Common Prayer with due administration of the Sacra- 
ments for the said L. President, Vicepresident and Council, 
and their whole household, which person being learned, and 
using the office of a preacher, shall have the yearly fee of ;^4o, 
with the allowance of his diet and the diet of one servant in the 
household. And if he shall not be of sufficient ability to preach, 
but to serve there as a minister for common prayer, then to have 
the allowance under the sum of ;^4o, as the Lord President for 
the time shall appoint him, with the allowance of the like diet 
for himself and his servant." This clause corroborates the 
frequent complaints at this time of the lack of preaching 


Details are given as to the household allowance, fees of the Vice 
President and Councillors, the Clerk, the Keeper of the Armour 
and Artillery, the Clerk of the Fines, the Messengers, the Steward 
of the Household, and the Serjeant-at-Arms. No excessive fees 
were to be taken by any attorneys, clerks, or counsellors, and a 
reasonable number of " honest, discreet and expert men " were to 
be appointed to be attorneys for the furtherance of poor men's 
causes at fees to be fixed by the Lord President or Vice-President 
and two of the Council. No counsel were to be admitted unless 
they were already utter barristers of the Inns of Court, and any 
counsellor, attorney, or clerk known to be of evil name and a 
procurer of suits or vexations was to be dismissed. Various 
clauses respecting the safe keeping of the records, the manage- 
ment of the household, and the disposal of the fines are dealt 
with elsewhere. The last clause deals with the attendance of 
the Council {three members at least in term, and two in vacation) 
and with the place of session, which was to be fixed every term 
according to the convenience of suitors. It was also recom- 
mended that such of the Council " as be men of estimation and 
yet not learned in the laws of the realm, nor having any fee for 
attendance, may nevertheless for the service of her Majesty, and 
upon the trust reposed in them, be limited some certain times 
by turns to repair unto the said Council at the places meetest 
for their resort in respect of their dwelling-place, so as by this 
means the presence of the Council at every sessions may be the 
greater, both for the honor of the Council, and aid of service 
and administration of justice." 

Appended to the instructions is the form of oath to be 
administered to every member of the Council, when he should 
be preferred to any other office belonging to its jurisdiction. 

These instructions were far from being faithfully observed, 
and in 1576, by the advice of the Privy Council, the Queen issued 
additional orders "for the direction and reformation of her 
Highness' Court in the Marches of Wales." The preamble states 
that of late years " great and sundry abuses and disorders are crept 
into the Court of the Marches of Wales through lack of care in 
such inferior ministers to whom the reformation thereof did 


appertain, whereby justice hath lacked his due execution, and 
the inhabitants dwelling within that province have been sundry 
ways most grievously molested and vexed, as also by long delay 
of suits and new exaction of fees greatly impoverished ; whereby 
that Court (which, at the beginning was erected for the ease and 
relief of the said inhabitants) is now become unto them, through 
these new crept in abuses, most grievous and intollerable." 

The orders that follow mostly concern details of procedure, 
and may be more conveniently dealt with in a later chapter. 
Some, however, relate to the kind of suit to be entertained by 
the Court, and were evidently intended to check causeless litiga- 
tion. It was ordered that no suits in the nature of "replevin, 
debt without specialty, detinue, action upon case, or account " ^ 
might be received in Court unless the bill were signed by two 
of the Council at the least. "Also, if complaint be made for 
trespass, or wrongful entering or disturbing of the freehold, or of 
the possession of any farmer for years or at will, within any 
of the twelve shires of Wales [names given] ; and surmise he 
is not of ability to try the common law in the county where 
the wrong was committed and therefore for inequality prayeth 
to be heard of that Court, no process to be graunted upon any 
such bill, except the complaint be first exhibited to the Justices 
of Assize within that county, where the cause of such suit ariseth, 
and he by letters and other note of allowance, recommend the 
hearing of the same for that cause to this Council." Thirdly, 
no title of copyhold was to be heard except against the lord, 
without manifest testimony that the complainant could not have 
impartial trial in the lord's Court. Lastly, no process was to 
be granted for the appearance of any before the Council unless 

' Action upon the case " is a general action given for redress of wrongs, 
done to any man without force, and by law not especially provided for, and 
is now most in use " (Blount). Replevin " signifies the bringing of the writ 
replegiari facias by him that has his Cattle or other Goods distrained by 
another for any cause and putting in surety to the Sheriff that upon delivery 
of the thing distrained, he will pursue the action against him that dis- 
trained " {Ibid.). Detinue, " a writ that lieth against him who, having goods 
or chattels delivered to him to keep, refuseth to deliver them again " {Ibid.). 


the value thereof exceeded 40^. To the non-observance of these 
salutary regulations much of the Council's later ill-repute may 
be traced. 

Minute instructions follow as to the custody of the prisoners 
in the Porter's Lodge. A person committed for a single contempt 
was to pay the porter a fee of 2s. 6d. Any one of the degree 
of an esquire committed for an offence entailing the wearing of 
irons was to pay 2s. 6d. and an additional 2s. 6d. if he sought 
to be discharged of the same. Any one committed to the 
porter's charge was not to depart out of its circuit without the 
Council's special permission, and if the commitment was for 
treason, murder, or felony, he was to be detained in irons at 
the Council's pleasure. The porter was to keep in readiness 
for the entertainment of prisoners two tables, the best and first 
at Sd. a meal, the second at 612^. The prisoner was to choose 
at his commitment at which of these tables he would remain. 
If he refused to pay his fees on the day following his commitment 
and the ordinary diet charges every week-end, the porter was 
to take bonds for their due payment. x\ny person who was 
committed to ward, till the payment of money to the Queen (as 
a fine) or to any person in pursuance of the Council's order, 
and did not make payment within a month, was to be removed 
to Wigmore or such other place as the Council thought fit. 

The additions to the orders for Wales, dated July, 1577, deal 
with matters of detail ; the only point of interest is the order 
that a recommendation of a suit to the Council (in the case of 
inability to sue at common law) might, in the absence of the 
justices of assize, be made by the bishop of the diocese or two 
Justices of the Peace in the same county or that adjoining. 
The clause is noteworthy as showing the extent to which Elizabeth 
regarded the bishops as civil servants. The remaining articles 
deal with the fee for copies of orders and the reduction in the 
numbers of attorneys and clerks. 

Full details as to the working of the Council in the Marches 
during Sir Henry Sidney's Presidency are furnished by the Acts 
of the Privy Council. These show that it acted in serious matters 
as a Court of inquiry, from which offenders were sent up to 


the Privy Council for trial, while it decided less important cases 
outright.^ As in earlier years, its jurisdiction extended to 
cases both criminal and civil. Under the first head come cases 
of murder, felony, riot, robbery, slander, piracy, breach of the 
peace, illegal hunting, praemunire, high treason, recusancy, forcible 
expulsion, " lewd words," forcible entry, rescue of priests, forgery, 
intimidation, taking of comorthas, false coining, and unlawful 
assembly. The civil cases were concerned mainly with title 
to lands, copyholds especially, inheritance, and debt. 

The correspondence of the Privy Council with its subordinate 
Council throws considerable light on the condition of Wales 
and the Marches. Though crimes of violence seem to have 
diminished in number since Lee's days, the Council had to 
deal with not a few cases of a serious character. Thus in 1574 
(A.P.C., Vol. VIIL, p. 278) it was ordered by the Privy Council 
to try at Shrewsbury the murderers of a certain Edward ap Rice. 
Similarly in February, 1574-5, the Privy Council wrote to the 
Lord President enclosing a petition from one ap Rees, who 
urged prosecution of one of Her Majesty's Guard for the murder 
of his son. The Lord President was ordered to help and defend 
the petitioner from " injuste practises that wrongfully do hinder 
the due course of lawe " (A.P.C., Vol. VIIL, p. 347). Partiality 
was a great stumbling-block in the way of justice — e.^. in the 
case of a murder committed at Gloucester fresh examiners were 
to be appointed if those^ formerly named could not be trusted 
(A.P.C., Vol. IX., p. 203). Breach of the peace was an offence 
specially to be repressed by the Council. In 1576 certain 
Denbigh gentlemen complained to the Privy Council of the 
insolency of Owen ap Robert, who had slain David ap Richard 
Lloyd, had been included in the last general pardon, but was 
likely to cause a breach of the peace by his " insolent and 
lewd conversation " among David's friends. The Vice-President 
was ordered by the Privy Council to see to the keeping of the 
peace. A case of which somewhat fuller details exist - is that 
of William Vaughan's lackey, who was summoned before the 
Council of the Marches on a charge of murder. He failed to 

1 See especially A.P.C., Vol. X., p. 432 (1578), and Vol. XL, p. 67 (i578-9)< 



appear, and Vaughan was accordingly sent for by the Privy 
Council with orders to produce his lackey before them. The 
father of the murdered man complained that the lackey had 
quarrelled with his son and " strake him with a cudgell on the 
lefte side of his hedd, that shortlie after he died thereof," and 
further that Vaughan "did not onelie denye him to be in his 
house, but hath ever since kept him secretlie and relieved him, 
so that he cannot be apprehended." On Vaughan's appearance 
before the Council, their lordships, " being otherwise much 
troubled with her Majesties business," confided the examination 
of the matter to Sir Walter Mildmay and the Master of the 
Rolls. This was on March 19th, 1577-S ; on May i8th, 1578, 
Vaughan, who was now in prison, prayed to be released on his 
own bond of ;^2oo, to be answerable to the law and to do 
his best for the apprehension of his servant. His petition was 
granted and the matter was at an end.^ 

Towards the end of Sydney's Presidency several references 
occur to disorders in Monmouthshire and Herefordshire (A.P.C, 
Vol. Xni., pp. 127, 246). In the latter county it is said that 
more murders had been committed than in any two shires 
thereabouts. Besides perjury and maintenance, there were " both 
riots, routs, ridings and unlawful assemblies," and in the view 
of the Privy Council these disorders were " very intolerable and 
needful to be reformed." Cases of robbery are mentioned here 
and there — e.g. a letter was addressed by the Privy Council to 
the Justices of Assize in Devon touching the conveyance of 
certain prisoners to Ludlow to be examined for robbery ; an 
open letter was also sent to all sheriffs between Devon and 
Gloucester for their safe conduct (A.P.C, Vol. IX., p. 185). 
Another case is that of Edmund Bennys, who had been " spoiled 
and robbed," and petitioned the Privy Council for redress. The 
Council in the Marches was bidden to proceed in the matter 
according to justice, without partiality (A.P.C., Vol. IX., p. 339). 

The suppression of false rumours, slanders, and " lewd words" 
was also part of the Council's work. Thus in 1578 it was 
ordered to suppress false rumours touching the coinage, tending 
' A.P.C, Vol. X., pp. 116, 117, 151, 158, 161, 175, 189, 209, 226. 


to the hurt of the Government (A.P.C., Vol. VII., p. 378). In 
1573 a certain Nicholas Grimshawe, accused of "lewd and 
seditious speeches," was ordered before the Privy Council 
(A.P.C., Vol. VIII., p. 147). In 1576 the Vice-President and 
Council were ordered to examine into the truth of two slanderous 
bills of complaint sent up to the Queen and Privy Council 
against Sir John Perrott. In all probability, says the letter, 
the complaint proceeded altogether from malice, for Perrott is 
"well thought of" by Her Majesty; but the Vice-President 
and Council were to send for the complainant, charge him with 
contempt, and punish him if he deserved it (A.P.C., Vol. IX., 
p. 1 01). A few years later the Lord President was ordered to 
examine John Brenton, who, when at dinner with the Mayor of 
Hereford, had " used certain lewde speaches in the maintenance 
of Campion the seditious Jesuit." No affection or partiality 
was to be shown in the examination (A.P.C., Vol. XIII., 
pp. 193, 322). 

Riot was an offence specially to be dealt with by the Welsh 
Council. In 1571 a disturbance took place at Bromyard against 
the ofificers and servants of the Bishop of Hereford, who was 
reduced to such straits that he could not even travel from his 
dwelUng without a great guard. The Vice-President and Council 
were bidden to give orders for the apprehension of offenders and 
their trial before private sessions, if no general sessions were 
near (A.P.C., Vol. VIII., p. 33). A few years later Sir Andrew 
Corbet Vice-President, and the rest of the Council, were ordered 
to examine into a complaint to the Queen on behalf of Catherine 
Meuricke and Catherine Heriott, her daughter, touching a riot 
committed by certain of Sir John Perrott's servants (A.P.C., 
Vol. IX., p. 66). Soon after this entry is a letter to the 
Vice-President and Council speaking of the "great disorders 
through want of execution of diverse good and ancient ordinances 
specially made for those parts." In a later case of an "out- 
ragious disorder and riott " committed by one Robert Vaughan, 
the Lord Bishop of Worcester (Whitgift) and Sir Thomas 
Bromley were to send for the offender and see justice done to 
the man he had injured (A.P.C., Vol. XIII., p. 139 [1581]). 


Numerous references occur during this period to the prevalence 
of piracy on the Welsh coast, and the Council in the Marches 
was constantly urged by the Privy Council to take measures for 
the arrest of pirates and those who aided and abetted them. 
Thus in 1565 they were bidden to send up a "pyrat" in safe 
custody, and in 1576-7 a Scotch pirate apprehended in Wales 
was to be delivered with his goods to the officers of the 
Admiralty (A.P.C., Vol. VII., p. 272, and Vol. IX., p. 270). By 
1577 piracy was so prevalent that Sir John Perrott and Fabian 
Phillips (one of the Council in the Marches) were specially 
deputed, together with the Mayor of Cardiff, to examine into 
matters of piracy at Cardiff, and a warrant was issued to the 
Treasurer and Chamberlains of the Exchequer for the payment 
of expenses to the amount of one hundred marks (A.P.C., Vol. IX., 
p. 379). The Privy Council Acts about this time give many 
details showing the loss to trade caused by piracy and wrecking ; 
thus in 1576 we read that certain Haverfordwest merchants had 
been taken and robbed on the seas by Phipson, an English 
pirate, and despoiled of their goods, which were afterwards 
dispersed and sold in sundry Welsh and Cornish ports. A 
Commission out of the Court of Admiralty had been obtained 
for the recovery of the said goods, but it had not been obeyed. 
So again, after the wreck of a richly laden Bristol ship, the cargo 
had been taken by the inhabitants of the sea-coast of Somerset, 
Cornwall, and South Wales (A.P.C, Vol. IX., p. 113). Much 
sympathy seems to have been shown towards pirates, to judge 
by the case of John Callice, a notable pirate, who was lodged 
and horsed in Haverfordwest, and, though known, was allowed 
to escape. He and his servant brought a prize laden with wine 
into Milford Haven, but got off scot-free, though "for a shewe 
and colour of justice " some poorer offenders were apprehended 
(A.P.C, Vol. IX., p. 267). Throughout the year 1577 numerous 
references occur to the examination of persons on the charge of 
dealing with pirates.^ Next year the Privy Council recorded 
its thanks to those who had inquired into the sympathy shown 
in Wales towards pirates, and an investigation was ordered into 
' A.P.C, Vol. IX., pp. 317, 339, 341, 373. 


the property of such abettors. Some years later occurs a letter 
from the Privy Council to two Justices of the Peace and 
Commissioners for Causes of Piracies to take security for two 
persons to appear in London to answer for conniving at a pirate's 
escape (A.P.C., Vol. XIV., p. 143 [1586]). A similar case 
occurred in 1587, when a French ship, the Hope of Fecamp, 
laden with salt for Calais, was robbed by various persons, the 
goods being sold in the ports of Carmarthen and Laugherne. 
All the vice-admirals and Justices of the Peace were ordered by 
the Privy Council to aid in the apprehension of the offenders 
and the recovery of the goods. ^ 

The execution of the recusancy laws was a duty frequently 
insisted on by the Privy Council, but without much success. In 
1578 a complaint was made by the Welsh Council that offenders 
in religion had not been adequately checked by the Privy 
Council. The latter body denied the imputation, and asked 
for further particulars (A.P.C., Vol. X., p. 331). Not long 
afterwards the Council wrote to the Bishop of Worcester 
(Whitgift) concerning the disorders in the house of John Edwards, 
of Chirk, touching " papistrie," and a correspondence ensued 
between the Privy Council and the Council in the Marches 
touching recusants in Wales. The result was that Fabian 
Phillips was employed by the Lord President and the Council 
in the Marches to find out offenders in matters of religion 
(A.P.C., Vol. II., pp. 29, 97, 190). Not long afterwards a 
notice occurs of the arrest of a " massing priest," who had in 
his possession certain Popish books, crucifixes, beads, etc. 
Order was given by the Privy Council for thorough investigation 
of the case by a Commission at the next assizes. But the 
activity shown seems to have been short-lived, for in 1580 order 
was given for the Commission Ecclesiastical to be put in execu- 
tion, with the warning that Her Majesty is offended because 

' Cf. the depositions before Sir Edward Stradlyng and Sir William 
Mathewe in a case of piracy under Penarth, printed in Mr. Clark's Cartae 
et alia Munimenta de Glamorgan, Vol. II., No. CCCCLXXI., from P.R.O., 
S.P.D., 125, No. 66., September 19th, 20 Eliz. (1578). The pirates in this 
case did no great damage; they certainly went ashore with swords and 
calivers, but all they took was a wether and "three copple of conies," 


nothing has been done for a whole year (A.P.C., Vol XII., 
p. 59). In 1582 complaints of recusancy increased : it was 
alleged that the Justices, sheriffs, and jurors were slack in 
apprehending and punishing recusants ; the Justices of the Peace 
left them to the Judges of Assize, who were pressed for 
time. The Lord President was therefore urged to choose as 
Justices of the Peace those who most favoured religion, that such 
slackness 'might be avoided (A.P.C., Vol. XIII. , pp. 427-8). 
In the diocese of Hereford recusants seem to have abounded, 
being allowed to live in their own houses and enjoy liberty. 
The sheriff and his two predecessors, who had been guilty of 
favouring recusants, were ordered to appear before the Privy 
Council and make answer for their action (A.P.C., Vol. XIII., 
p. 192). This laxity in carrying out the Government poHcy 
against recusants brought Sir Henry Sydney into great disfavour 
with the Queen. "Your Lordship," wrote Walsingham in a 
friendly note of warning, " had neade to walk warily, for your 
doings are narrowly observed, and her Majestic is apt to geve 
eare to any that shall yll you." 

Among matters of minor importance is a charge brought by 
the Sheriff of Haverfordwest against one William Morgan for 
keeping the writ for the choice of burgesses in Parliament 
(A.P.C., Vol. VIII., p. 77 [1572]). The Lord President and 
Council were to examine into the matter. Often after the 
preliminary examination before the Lord President and Council, 
arbitrators or Commissioners were appointed to decide the case. 
For example, under 1573 is an entry that " indifferent gentlemen " 
were to end the case if they could, and, if not, to return 
it to the Lord President (A.P.C., Vol. VIII., pp. 99, 161, 
Vol. IX., p. 58). So, again, the Vice-President and Council were 
ordered to hold an inquiry into irregularities committed by 
certain private persons who had licences to dispense with sundry 
penal statutes (A.P.C., Vol. X., p. loi). In fact, the Lord 
President and Council were expected to give their assistance 
in any kind of process from a Star Chamber case to a coroner's 
inquest (A.P.C., Vol. VIII., p. 311, and Vol. IX., p. 26). 

Points of interest are presented by some of the cases connected 


with landed property. In 1578 Lord Stafford had forcibly 
entered into Cawes Castle, and had refused to appear when 
summoned before the Court of the Marches. The Privy Council 
ordered him to appear, apologise, and produce witnesses, if he 
could, in self-justification (A.P.C., Vol. X., p. 206). Similar 
contumacy, it may be noted, was shown a little later by the 
Sheriff of Worcester, who refused to appear before the Council 
of the Marches on the pretence that he was sent for by the 
Lords of the Privy Council. He was ordered by their lordships 
to apologise before both bodies, and receive an admonition from 
the Council of the Marches (A.P.C., Vol. X., p. 217). Later 
on there occurs in the Acts of the Privy Council a reference 
to the petition of John Corbet, of Cawes, touching the forcible 
entry on his lands committed by Lord Stafford. It appears 
that the matter had been referred to Lord Buckhurst, Sir Thomas 
Heneage, and Sir John Perrott, but they could come to no con- 
clusion because Corbet had brought with him only a copy of the 
lease made of the said lands by Lord Stafford, who denied any 
such grant. In Lord Stafford's absence, however, Corbett ven- 
tured to produced the original lease. The Privy Council finally 
ordered the Lord President and the Council in the Marches 
to examine Corbet's complaint, and "appease and compound 
the strifes there amongest you, that we may be noe more im- 
portuned therewith." 

Another case in which Lord Stafford was concerned is of 
much interest as showing the survival of villeinage. The 
tenants of his Manor of Thornbury complained of " hardie 
and extreame usage against them by the Lord Stafford," who 
claimed them as his villeins. The Lord President was bidden 
to arrange the matter, or else refer it to the Privy Council, 
while Lord Stafford was enjoined to refrain from any threats 
or extreme dealings (A.P.C., Vol. XIV., p. 48). Lord Stafford 
came before Sir Henry Sydney, and, after getting copies of 
his tenants' complaints, departed before the matter could be 
heard (A.P.C, Vol. XIV., p. 100). On this a letter was directed 
to Lord Stafford, telling him that if his tenants were free-born, 
his action had been illegal. He is to "prosecute his right 


without using anie such violent proceedinges and threatninges, 
which her Majesty, who naturally pitiethe the evill usage of anie 
of her subjectes, will not take in good parte " (A.P.C., Vol. XIV., 
pp. 190-1). 

Another manorial case was a dispute as to the interest of 
a messuage held as copyhold of the Manor of Painswick. 
The matter had been dismissed by the Lord President and 
Council of the Marches, and referred to the common law. 
The lord or steward of the manor had been directed to give 
the plaintiffs possession, and make them a copy according to 
the custom of the manor; but this the plaintiffs could not 
secure. The Lord President was accordingly requested by the 
Privy Council to see right done (A.P.C., Vol. XIL, p. 201). 
Cases of forcible entry and disputed title were bound to be 
frequent, partly owing to the change that had come over the 
system of land tenure in Wales since the extension of the law 
of primogeniture to every part of the country in 1536 ; the result 
was a fierce land-hunger. A typical case is the dispute as to 
the possession of a certain mansion house between Sir Thomas 
Raglande and Wildgose. The former had been expelled by 
the latter, and the Lord President and Council were directed 
to give him assistance (A.P.C., Vol. XIIL, p. 367 ; cf. p. 106). 

Matters of inheritance not infrequently came before the 
Council ; thus a certain William Clench (servant to the Lord 
President) and Francis Clench made use of a forged will and 
other means to dispossess George Smith, of Morvile, Shropshire, 
of his inheritance. His lordship had sequestrated Smith's lands, 
goods, and chattels. The Privy Council wrote that " this course 
of proceedings seeminge verie hard unto their Lordships, they 
praie his Lordship and the rest in respect of justice to cause the 
sequestration to be taken away and restitution made." Clench 
was to be referred to the common law (A.P.C., Vol. XIV., 
p. 49). Another case concerning title to lands in the Manor 
of Styrcheley, co. Salop, was dismissed into the Court of 
Exchequer because one of the parties was servant to a clerk 
of the Privy Council, and therefore could not attend to the suit 
before the Council in the Marches. A case of some importance 


was that in Anglesey between Sir Richard Bulkeley and Lewes 
ap Owen ap Merricke. The latter had refused to hand over 
the common armour of the county to Sir Richard and the sheriff, 
owing to their oppression and partiality. By virtue of a writ 
from the Court of the Marches, his lands and goods had been 
seized by the sheriff, and his wife had been " dispossessed and 
turned out of her dwelling house to her great discomforte and 
the trouble and vexation of the old man." The Privy Council 
ordered the Earl of Pembroke to stay all proceedings against 
him in the Court of the Marches, considering his age and the 
services he had done to the Queen and in the advancement 
of true religion (A.P.C, Vol. XV., p. 375). 

There are abundant indications that Sir Henry Sydney's 
absence in Ireland had a harmful effect on the Council in the 
Marches. Frequent complaints occur of corruption, partiality, 
greed of gain, delay of justice, laxity in levying fines, carelessness 
in keeping accounts, excessive fees and extravagance in the 
management of the household at Ludlow. These complaints 
were of long standing: as early as the second year of Elizabeth's 
reign orders had been drawn up by the Council in the Marches 
for the checking of abuses caused by the increase of vexatious 
and unnecessary suits to the delay of urgent business.^ In 
1566-7 the Privy Council wrote to the Court of the Marches 
directing them to abate the number of their causes at gaol 
deliveries, and so diminish the number of attorneys and clerks. 
Ten years later the orders of 1576 were drawn up for reformation 
of the abuses enumerated above. Before receiving the Queen's 
ratification the draft was sent to the Lord President in Ireland, 
with a letter recounting the complaints of the greed shown 
by the Court. Sir John Throgmorton, Mr. Bromley, Mr. 
Phetiplace, three members of the Council of the Marches, and 
the Master of the Rolls had been called before the Privy Council 
to state any objections to the proposed reforms (A.P.C, 
Vol. IX., p. 165). 

The best description of the Council of the Marches at this 
time is to be found in certain documents addressed to Walsingham 
' S.P.D., Vol. 1547-80 (Eliz.), Vol. XIV., No. 41 (Cal., p. 163). 


in 1575 by Mr. David Lewis and William Gerard. The former 
was the first Principal of Jesus College, Oxford, Judge of the 
High Court of Admiralty, Master of St. Katherine's Hospital, 
London, a Master in Chancery and of Her Majesty's Requests. 
He died in 1584. The latter had for many years (over twenty) 
been a member of the Council of the Marches ; he was a 
Judge of the Great Sessions in South Wales till 1579-80, and 
reference is made to him in that capacity in the instructions 
of 1574. He also held the office of Lord Chancellor in Ireland.^ 

Mr. Lewis begins by lamenting "My countrey is so farre 
out of order at this time as dothe requyre seuere remedye and 
in euery comein wealthe seueritye used with indifferencye of 
iustice to all men is more commended than leuytye. . . . And 
in my countrey this medyson hathe ben tryed in busshope 
Rowlandes and Mr. Eglefeldes [sic] time, and since in that little 
time that S' Hughe Powlett was there, and seinge experyence 
is counted the beste meystres in my opynion she is to be followed." 
After a passing reference to Solon and Lycurgus, he mentions 
the " late inordinate and unlawfull assemblye in Glamorganshire, 
and the excessive number of retaynors there, leste the same 
brede a worse example, yf some punishment do not ensue." 
Then follows a passage which throws much hght on the social 
condition of Wales at this time : 

" The greate dysorders in Wales, speciallye in South Wales 
haue growen muche of late dales by retayners of gentlemen, 
whome they muste after the maner of the countrey bere out in 
all actions be they never so badd. They haue also foster brothers, 
loyteringe and ydle kinsmen and others hangers-on, that do 
nothinge ells but playe at cardes and dyce and pick and steale 
and kyll or hurte any man when they will haue them, and yet 
they them selfes will washe their handes thereof when the yll facte 
is don. These ydle loiterers when they haue offended wilbe 

' See Judge Lewis's article in Y Cymmrodor, Vol. XII. On p. 12 he 
writes that Gerard " does not appear to have been considered important 
enough to be noticed by the writers in the Dictionary of National 
Biographj'." This statement is incorrect, for an article on Gerard is given 
in Vol. XXI., pp. 225-7. 


shifted of to some frendes of theires in an other quarter, so as 
they will not be fownde to be ponished when time shall require, 
and in the meane while the gentlemen will practize an agreement 
with the partyes greved, and then because the loyterers haue 
nothinge of theire owne the gentlemen must helpe them to a 
Comortha to satisfye the parties dampnifyed." 

He goes on to say that men of no substance or credit are 
made sheriffs and Justices of the Peace, living for the most part 
by " poUynge and pyllynge." The authority of the Council in the 
Marches is not regarded as it had been, " for neither shreiffe. 
Justice of the peace, maior, baylye or officer of any towne 
corporate will so carefully apprehend or take any suche persons 
as hathe any frende of any accompte, althoughe theire faltes be 
neuer so grevous and apparant, yea though he hathe the saide 
counsayles lettres to that ende, but will playe bo pype, seest me 
and seest me not, and this haue growne by impunytye whereof do 
proceade all maner of disorders." The remedy, he is convinced, 
is to punish the gentlemen for their retainers, " to let the father 
answer for his sonne, the master for his man, yf he be not 
furthcommynge to answer for the disorder, and so each other for 
his brother or any other that dothe hange upon him for ought 
don in his quarell, or that maye be thought to be don by his 
assent or will." He insists that officers who fail to secure 
offenders should be kept in prison till such are brought in for 
punishment, and that the penalties inflicted should be " rather 
in bodye by imprisonment then in purse, leste the countrey by 
Comortha bere that payne more then the offender." Comorthas, 
except by special permission, should be utterly forbidden, ^ and 
masterless men, loiterers, and idle persons should be bound over 
to good behaviour. 

Very practical suggestions follow for the reform of the Council 

' Cf. S.P.D., Vol. CVII., No. 5. "Consideration of thinges to be re- 
formed with the CoLinsell of the Marches of Wales." 4. " The Kymorthas 
which was wont to be a benevolence is now grovven to be partlie 
compulsorie by suche as haue riotouslie wasted their living, or haue bin 
greatlie chargde to win their saftie for some heynous murther or felonie to 
the importunate charge of the best sort of men. And therefore worthie to 
be staide, for the honest and simple are never releived therbie." 


in the Marches: they should "imploye them selfes to se the 
countrey well ordered and guyded in good obedyence rather then 
to hear pleas for landes and other thinges, which might receve 
ende by the course of the comein lawes with more spede and 
lesse charge then there." Small matters might be referred to an 
experienced Councillor for decision. The Vice-President or the 
Justice, with two other members, should be always resident, " and 
not one to tarye a sevenight or fortnight and then to departe 
levinge another for so lytle tyme, who is clene ignorant of the 
accydentes and procedynge therein." 

Further advice is that the Justices of the Peace in each of 
the twelve shires of Wales should be "chosen of the beste 
disposed men to Justice and godlynes and the nomber to be 
abridged to viij according to the ordynance of Wales." Those 
that profess the laws of the realm and are members of the Council 
should not be "in fee with any gentleman within the lymittes 
of theire Commission as for the moste parte they haue ben, and 
(as I thincke) be at these dayes." 

The discourses of William Gerard are of a more elaborate 
character, dealing not only with the actual working of the Council 
in the Marches, but with its origin and development. His 
eulogy on Lee and Englefield has been quoted above. He 
passes on to lament that the qualities he has described in them 
are not found in their successors : "at this day, to be plaine, the 
Counsell and Courte are neyther reuerenced, feared, or theire 
proceadinges estemed. There is not neyther hathe bene sithens 
the Queues Raigne anie of the Counsell appointed to contynuall 
attendaunce of suche profounde Judgement as the place re- 
quireth, or that maie be termed profound, learned, comparable 
with those meaneste of those that have served as Justice sythens 
Englefelde. And as the knowledge hereof hathe bredd the 
Counsellors at the barre by contemptuouse carpinge overmoche 
to deforce contempn and discountenaunce the benche, soe the 
Clientes takinge houlde of theire disorders and perswaded that 
everie order which passethe againste them is eyther throughe 
Ignorance or wilfullnes of the Counsell and soe doe departe 
wythe repyninge and murmuringe speeches." 


Very serious are the charges brought against the Council : the 
members are too numerous, for the most part unfit, and have 
their private ends to serve rather than the good of the country. 
The resulting evils are vividly described in the following 
passage : 

" It is moste true that the bodie of the Comunaltie of Wales 
are pore and theire estate to be lamented of everie pitifuU and 
carefull Magistrate, for he that woulde but marke the pore simple 
Creatures (I call Gode to witnes with greeff and pitie of theire 
smarte I speak yt), whoe come and goe to and from that Courte 
in the yere, and the small causes which they travell for when 
theye come to hearinge, meeter for a meane under-stuarde at a 
Leete or lawe dale to be decised, then for a Counsell settled for 
governement to be occupied withall, would sale to himself, ' You 
pore walshe Creatures, yt is not you, but those appointed to 
governe you whoe be the causes of your beggerie ; th' establish- 
ment lis to devise for your wealthe that which your malicious 
and wilfull disposicions cannot procure to yourselfs." 

Other defects noted by Gerard are the abuse of the office of 
Examiner, the indebtedness of the "house" at Ludlow (one 
thousand marks), and the management of the porter's lodge, 
which " was in Bushoppe Rowlandes tyme suche a straite place 
of punishment as the common people termed yt a hell ; and 
nowe is growen to noe terror of ponishment of the bodie but a 
gulph throughe fees to sucke uppe a meane man." 

Gerard concludes with a description of the members of the 
Council which is certainly pungent. The Vice-President^ (Sir 
Andrew Corbet) was " a verie sicklie man not able to take the 
toyle of that service." Doctor Ellis (Ellis Price, LL.D.), "of 
xij or xiij yeres contynuance, a good Mountaigne doctor and 
seldom called to attendaunce there." Powell of Oswaldstree 
(Oswestry) was a recent addition to the Council. He had 
evidently made his mark at the dinner-table rather than at the 
Council board, for Gerard describes him as " well scene in Welsh 
Stories, in that service sitteth like a Zipher." " Jerom Corbette " 
was " a yonge man, an utter barrister in Court, but soe slowe of 
' See A.P.C., Vol. IX., p. 66. 


dispatche as not meete for that Court." His compeer, Fabian 
Phillips, is described, in terms not much more complimentary, 
as " a yonge man, an utter barrester of small experience at the 
barre or benche, of noe knowen lyvinge savinge a bailiwick or 

Gerard suggests names for fresh Councillors : he knows an 
excellent man for the post of Vice-President, who would diminish 
causeless suits within two years, but doubts if he would take 
office. A very noteworthy suggestion added at the close is that 
one of the Justices of Assize should understand Welsh, " for 
nowe the Justice of assise must use some interpretor. And 
therefore many tymes the Evidence is tolde accordyng to the 
mynde of the Interpretor, whereby the Evidence is expounded 
contrarie to that which is saide by the examynate, and so the 
Judge gyveth a wronge charge." 

Among all the proposals for reform in the Council of the 
Marches those of Lewis and Gerard are pre-eminent for insight 
and commonsense. 

During Sydney's absence in Ireland between 1577 and 1579 
the office of Vice-President was filled by Whitgift, who had 
been recently consecrated Bishop of Worcester. His appoint- 
ment was perhaps due to the urgent representations made by 
Gerard as to the need of an energetic man to fill the post. His 
biographer Strype relates at considerable length his activity 
especially against recusants.^ In this task he received but little 
help from his colleagues, and accordingly requested the Privy 
Council that a special Commission might be issued to himself 
and some of the Welsh bishops to repress the efforts of the 
Roman Catholic priests. His request was favourably received, 
and he was promised a speedy Commission of oyer and terminer, 
with an inhibition to the Justices of Assize in the counties named 
therein from dealing in such cases.^ In pursuance of directions 

' Strype, Life and Acts of Archbishop Whitgift, Oxford, 1822, pp. 164-80. 

^ This letter is dated by Strype February 17th, 1578 : the minute of 
it should apparently have been written on one of the blank pages of the 
Council Register (Vol. IV., Elizabeth, of the Council Office Series). See 
Acts of the Privy Council, Vol. II., p. 51 (editor's note). 


from the Privy Council, Whitgift, in conjunction with the Bishops 
of Bangor and St. Asaph, examined a recusant named John 
Edwards, of Thirsk, co. Denbigh, in whose house mass had been 
celebrated. Neither Edwards nor another person named Morice, 
who was examined, would give any answer, and they were 
accordingly imprisoned. The Privy Council empowered Whitgift 
to use some kind of torture on them (if he thought fit), "whereby 
the very truth of such reconciliations to the Pope, lewd practices 
and assemblies, might be bolted out and known ; which they 
[the lords] were informed to have been very many in that 

Whitgift's relations with Sir Henry Sydney were somewhat 
strained. On his appointment as Vice-President he had been 
warned by Burghley not to neglect the duty of frequently inform- 
ing Sydney of the Council's transactions. Sydney " took 
something amiss from him," on the ground that his business 
communications were too rare, and the complaint was made 
known to him by Burghley, both by message and letter. 
Whitgift replied that he had always written to the Lord President 
every time that a letter had been sent to the Privy Council. Sir 
Henry Sydney, however, he went on to say, had written sundry 
letters to the Council at Ludlow at other men's suits, some of 
which he was forced to deny because they were grounded upon 
wrong information. Yet he did commonly answer such letters, 
especially if they required it. He goes on to speak of certain 
persons within his Commission, " who thought by letters and 
friendship to prevail in their evil causes and supposed that no 
man dared or ought to withstand them." He was ready to yield 
where he lawfully might ; but if justice or conscience otherwise 
required, he could not consent. For sure he was that they 
would bring a man peace at the last and never be confounded. 
Whereas friendship oftentimes failed and was very mutable. 
Such a letter deserved Strype's admiring comment: "Spoken 
like a right Christian Bishop and magistrate, steady and un- 
moveable in honest principles." 

A second imputation cast upon Whitgift's government was 
that certain misdemeanours and murders had been committed 


in Worcestershire. To this he replies, in the letter quoted 
above, that within his Commission there was no shire more quiet 
and in better order. Two assaults had certainly been committed 
of late : one was a trifling matter ; and for the other, process 
had been awarded out of the Court of the Marches. As few 
misdemeanours had been committed within his Commission as 
at any time, and those that were proved were as severely punished 
as ever they had been, for aught he could perceive by any record. 

Towards the end of 1579, when Sydney returned from Ireland, 
Whitgift was meditating some reform in the Council's proceedings 
as regards fines. Great abuses existed, but he was at a loss 
how to reform them, and any further action was stayed by 
Sydney's sending for the Clerks of the Fines, auditors' rolls, and 
books of instructions. Whitgift was well able not only to clear 
himself of unjust accusations, but to stand up for others whom 
he thought maligned. Thus he defended his colleague, Mr. 
Fabian Phillips, saying : " For my own part I know not any- 
thing whereupon he can justly be charged, unless it be because 
he is Stout and upright in judgment and not appliable to 
satisfy other men's affections and pleasures, as peradventure it 
is looked for. Truly my Lord, I find him one and the same 
man ; but I see how hard it is for such to follow the rules of 
equity and justice without respect to please all men : and I 
would to God it were not altogether contrary." 

However unpopular Whitgift's unbending firmness may have 
been in the Marches, his services were fully appreciated by the 
Privy Council, who wrote him a letter of cordial thanks on 
Sydney's return to his duties at Ludlow.^ 

Sydney came back from Ireland sick in body and mind. He 
reached England in the autumn of 1578, and was dangerously 
ill at Chester. After a short visit to Ludlow, he spent Christmas 
at Hampton Court, then went back, and busied himself with 

' A.P.C., Vol. II., p. 385, February 9th, 1579-80. On Whitgift's 
monument in Croydon Parish Church are the lines : 

" Mox Wigorn petit esse suum : fit episcopus illic 
Propraeses patriae, quo nunquam acceptior alter." 

— Y Cynimrodor, XII., p. 26. 


building the great portal and stone bridge of Ludlow Castle.^ 
Early in 1580 he visited Wilton, the seat of the new Lord 
Deputy of Ireland, Lord Grey, who was doubtless anxious to 
benefit by the experience of one long familiar with Irish diffi- 
culties. But Sydney was sharply ordered by the Queen to 
remain at his post he was clearly out of favour, and was 
censured for laxity in carrying out the instructions concerning 
recusants. He died at Ludlow on May 5th, 1586, aged nearly 
fifty-seven years. He was buried at Penshurst, after lying in 
state at Worcester Cathedral ; but his heart was interred at 
Ludlow, "for the entire love he bare that place." 

' A memorial of his return is described by Churchyard : 
" At the end of the dyning chamber there is a pretty device how 
the hedgehog brake the chayne, and came from Ireland to Ludloe." — 
Worthines of Wales. 



On Sydney's death the reform of the abuses in the Council of 
the Marches engaged the attention of the Privy Council and 
in particular of Lord Burghley. The Lansdowne MSS. contain 
numerous documents, drafts of instructions, recommendations, 
lists of abuses, and the Hke, in the drawing up or criticism of 
which a prominent part was taken by Sir James Croft, the 
Comptroller of Her Majesty's Household, and Whitgift, now 
Archbishop of Canterbury. Most of these suggestions were 
incorporated in the book of instructions issued in 1586 to the 
new Lord President, the Earl of Pembroke ; but on the whole 
it would seem as if the need of reformation continued, for 
documents similar to the above-mentioned occur at frequent 
intervals throughout Pembroke's term of office. ^ 

Foremost in the list of abuses at this period comes the practice 
of exacting excessive fees, this in turn being due largely to the 
creation of new and unnecessary offices during the last twenty 
years, and the inordinate number of clerks who attended the 
attorneys practising at the Court. " Many," it is complained, 
" dothe practize havinge very smale judgement in lawe and for 
their owne gayne do gyve contentious counsell to the greate 
unquietnes of the courte, for ignoraunce will never be satisfied." ^ 
In the time of Henry VHL the number of attorneys practising 
in the Court had been two only, now there were twenty-four, each 

' E.g. in 1590 and 1593. 

^ Lansdowne MSS. 22, ff. 166-70, art. 7 ; cf. Ibid., 49, f. 173 and ff. 195-6, 
and 60, ff. 103-12, arts. 2, 18, 19. 



employing four or five clerks besides those allowed by the Clerk 
of the Council — viz. twenty. " These," it is alleged, " do use 
to procure dyverse suytes the rather because they are suffered 
to make billes of complaynte, aunsweres, replycacons and in- 
formacons." The clerks " now swarm to the nomber of cxx, 
every of which nomber for theire gayne dothe procure dyverse 
suytes and causes without cause." ^ Clerks of the signet were in 
the habit of signing bills to the benefit of no one but themselves, 
and to the encouragement;of vexatious suits, by which defendants 
were often compelled to travel a hundred miles to the Council 
and make a long sojourn there till the case was dismissed.^ 
In fact. Sir James Croft, in his " Remembrances concerning the 
Counsell in the Marches," goes so far as to say : " These causes 
before rehersed make that courte greedie in settinge of excessive 
fees so burdensome to the subiectes within that comission as to 
none other of her Mat'ies subiectes within the realme of 
Englande." ^ 

Equally burdensome were the delays caused to suitors. The 
most important cases were not selected with a view to speedy 
hearing, hence suitors were often compelled to give attendance 
during a whole term, and yet not obtain judgment. At the end 
of one term, it is complained, two hundred cases had to be 
continued, to the great grievance of the parties concerned.* 
Orders which should have been taken in open Court were often 
heard in chambers, with the result that twenty days at least were 
spent on a case which in old times would have been settled in one.^ 

The old procedure in regard to bills had fallen into disuse. 
Formerly the Lord President, Justice, or any other Councillor 
would receive bills at the hands of suitors in passing to and 
from the Court, and, assisted by some clerks, would peruse 
them in the afternoon, after which each bill was endorsed with 
a statement of the process to be awarded. Other bills containing 
matters outside the Court's jurisdiction were torn up, and the 
same night all bills were sent to the office, whither the suitors 

\ - Lansdowne MSS. 22, ff. 166-70, art. 16 ; cf. 76, ff. 141-9. 
' Ibid.^ 60, fif. 103-12, art. 18. ^ Ibid., 22, ff. 166-70, art. 20. 

' Ibid., 60, ff. 103-12. 


repaired next day to receive their despatch. Another hindrance 
to suitors was the failure to sit in the afternoon " upon rules " ; 
" for wher a matter of hearing dispatchith but two, and so the 
fforenoone hearing but a ffew, the afternoone Rules dispatch 
xx*'* times as many, and yet hit is sayd that the Coort is behind 
in matters of hearing two thowsand cawses." ^ 

The irregular attendance of Councillors is blamed for this 
unsatisfactory state of things. Details are given in a document 
penned by an unknown writer about 1593. Rewrites: "Upon 
New Yeres Eve last yere Touneshend went away and no 
Counsailer was there for many days after untill ffower days in 
the terme, and then ther were but two, and upon Palme sonday 
Eve all the Counsaile went away, and abowte a fortnight after 
Easter one came and is putt to his boord wages att an Ordinary 
amongst Attorneys and Clarices and no howse kept at all." ^ 

Uncertainty as to the place of sessions was another abuse. 
The presence of the Council brought considerable profit to a 
town, and frequent applications were made to the members 
to change their meeting-place without due notice, to the dis- 
appointment of many suitors and of the townsfolk, where pre- 
parations had been made.^ Officers of the Court were often 
bribed to secure such a change, and so great was the uncertainty 
that suitors coming from remote parts of Wales were often com- 
pelled on the way to inquire where the Council might actually be.* 

Connected with the last-named abuse was the oppression of 
which the household officers were often guilty. Complaints occur 
of the taking of victuals and carts for the use of the Council, to 
the great vexation of the neighbouring inhabitants.^ We hear 
also allegations of serious misconduct against Court officials 
from the Lord President downwards. The attorneys were said 
to reserve rules till such Councillor as was best affected to their 
client should sit on the Bench. ^ We are told that payment to 

' Lansdowne MSS. 76, f. 144; cf. ill, ff. 36-7. 

^ Ibid., 76, ff. i^lb-q. 2 Ibid., 22, ff. 166-70, art 14. 

* Ibid., 60, ff. 103-12, arts. 9, 10. 

^ Ibid., 22, ff. 166-70, arts. 17, 49, ff. 195-6, ad fin. 

^ Ibid., Ill, f. 25, ad init. 


the amount of one hundred marks was exacted from attorneys for 
permission to practise ; ^ that the officers were asked how much 
they would contribute towards the entertainment of the Queen 
by the Lord President, poor clerks giving perforce 20s. and 
counsellors and attorneys much more ; finally, that the Queen's 
attorney was his lordship's " man," so too the Auditor and the 
Clerk of the Fines, which was a clear breach of the statute 
of livery. After this it is not surprising to read that Mr. Atkins, 
the Queen's Attorney, sold a "band" of ;^4o for ^4, "which 
course doth rob the subject and undoith the Coort," or that 
" servantes are manie tymes laboured to make motions for the 
which they receave bribes and the dorekeepers rewarded, with 
many other suchelike not nowe in remembrance." ^ 

Another statute constantly broken was that against granting 
comorthas, except in case of loss by fire. They had been 
granted on slight causes, often to councillors' friends and 
servants, to the relief of distress brought on by folly and 

Sir Henry Sydney had during his term of office endeavoured 
to secure the safe keeping of the records of the Court by building 
a special room for them in Ludlow Castle. In spite of this, 
it is alleged, they were embezzled, erased, and falsified. The 
Privy Council had done its best to impress on successive Lords 
President the scope of their instructions, and yet it was found 
that " the same Instruccions are seldome perused by the said 
L, President and Counsell as theie ought to be." * It is suggested 
that they should be always kept in a small box or casket, and 
perused once or twice a quarter before the Council during 

Last in this long list of abuses comes the tendency, common 
to all the extraordinary Courts of Tudor times, to extend the 
jurisdiction of the Court over matters which could be sufficiently 
determined by the common law. Many cases were needlessly 
tried by the Court of the Marches, to the great diminution of 

' Lansdowne MSS., 76, f. 1416-9. = Ibid., 60, ff. 103-12, art. 7. 

' Ibid., 67, f. 242.' * Ibid., Ill, ff. 36-7, No. 14, art. I. 


Her Majesty's profits in the way of fines and forfeitures. By 
the hearing of such cases at common law, it is urged, the queen 
would gain I ;^3oo a year. Another estimate is that the queen 
lost yearly as much as would discharge the whole diet of the 
Council. In almost every document dealing with the reform 
of the Council this stretching of jurisdiction is censured in the 
strongest terms. ^ 

The new Lord President was the son of the Earl of Pem- 
broke, who J had twice held the same office. His first wife had 
been Lady Catherine Grey (sister of Lady Jane), his second 
was Catherine Talbot, and the third was the famous Mary Sydney, 
Sir Henry's daughter, "the subject of all verse." He had been 
prominent at the trials of Norfolk, Arundel, and Mary, Queen 
of Scots. Like other members of his family, he was a man 
of culture, a special patron of antiquaries and heralds, and a 
collector of heraldic manuscripts. He was keenly interested in 
the drama, as is shown by the frequent mention of the Earl 
of Pembroke's players between 1589 and 1601.^ Two of the 
greatest Elizabethan dramatists were in some way connected 
with him : Massinger's father was his confidential servant, and 
to his sons William and Philip, " that incomparable pair of 
brethren," Shakespeare dedicated the first foHo of 1623.' 

Pembroke had clearly a difficult task before him when he 
assumed office in 1586. He at once set to work to become 
acquainted with the working of the Court and the abuses that 
had crept in of late years. The result of his investigations 
during his first term is given in a document entitled "lA brief 
collection of the presente state of the courte before the Lo : 
President and Counsaile in the Marches of Wales, beginning 
with the offices and officers seuerally for the better understanding 

' E.g. Lansdowne MSS. 49, f. 173, 22, ff. 166-70, ad init., and 76, f. 148. 
Much of the Council's energy seems to have been expended on quarrels 
between the members, especially the Solicitor and the Attorney — e.g. 
Lansdowne MSS. 49, ff. 190- 1, and ill, ff. 1-5. 

- E.g. A.P.C., Vol. XXIV., p. 113. 

' Diet. Nat. Biog. For references to Massinger the elder see Lansdowne 
MSS. 53, r. 138, and 63, ff. 187 and 193. 


therof and of the whole practise there, etc." ^ From this we 
obtain fuller details than are elsewhere given of the actual 
working of the Court and the scale of fees charged. Three points 
struck Pembroke as specially needing correction — viz. the great 
increase of fees, the ill-keeping of the records (in spite of the 
creation of a new office, that of the register), and the practice 
of examining witnesses by means of young and inexperienced 
clerks, totally unfit for such an important task, and very liable 
to be corrupted. Much inconvenience was also caused through 
the exercise of sundry offices by deputy, and through the careless 
keeping of Her Majesty's signet, which passed from hand to 
hand. Often it was the practice to join a number of distinct 
debts in one bill of complaint, so that many persons were unjustly 
troubled at one man's suit. In a case quoted by Pembroke the 
sum total of the various debts amounted to over ^2,800. " This 
devise," |he says, " being throughly considered, will fall out not 
to differre muche from a kynde of commortha. And therfore 
verie need full it is that it be provided for." He is especially 
severe on the injury to the reputation of the Court caused by 
young clerks, who " without all consideracion, iudgement or 
understanding haue usually taken upon them to deale in matters 
farre beyond their capacities." Often they made such blunders 
on points of law that when a case came to hearing, the material 
points were found to be omitted, and the party had to begin 
over again, to his great loss both in time and money. 

Equally oppressive was the practice described as follows : 
" Likewise it is used in that Courte upon the plaintiffs bare 
suggestion that the defendant is a fugitive or that he hath 
disobeyed some former process of the Courte, to awarde proces 
against him in the nature of a commission to apprehend and 
bynde him for his apparance, which commission is only granted 
unto suche commissioners as the partie himself will name, who 
commonly will fynde out the enemyes of the aduerse partie yf 
anie be, or otherwise make choise of some badd runnagate 
fellowes for that purpose, who to worke their owne reuenge, 
or to satisfie the partie's malicious hauior, will not spare by color 
' Lansdowne MSS. 51, ff. 103-4. 


of their commission to offer any abuse unto the aduerse partie, 
being many tymes gentlemen of good credit or others of such 
honestie and hauiour as greatly disdayne to be soe dealte with 
by suche bad fellowes, whereuppon many inconueniences follow, 
olde quarells be nourished and new stirres and fraies are daily 

Pembroke quotes a flagrant instance of extortion practised by 
the Serjeant-at-Arms. He had been sent with an ordinary 
process of the Court to a gentleman of Gloucestershire living 
not more than forty miles from Ludlow. He never executed 
the process, for he did not find the party ; but he had the 
effrontery to demand against him, before the Lord President, 
the sum of ;^24o in fees. To his great chagrin he was allowed 
only ;^5. Pembroke adds that he had been sufficiently rewarded 
by the party procuring the process, and at the time of his journey 
had business of his own to transact in Gloucestershire. 

A few years later — in 1590 — certain "libelling articles" were 
exhibited against the Court of the Council in the Marches. 
What they actually were does not appear; but that the Lord 
President felt himself deeply wronged thereby is seen from his 
words : " I have often sought with all earnest humilitie to haue 
those thinges which in these libelling articles concerne mee in 
particuler to be sett downe in such sorte as I might by the course 
of lawe seeke my owne iustification, but seeing I can not obteine 
this favor, I am enforced in defence of my honor to say that 
in these particulers which concerne mee alone, y® first libeller 
and he who commented therupon doe bothe lie in their 
throtes." ^ 

Sir James Croft, writing in May, 1590, disclaimed any intention 
of infringing on the authority of 'the Lord President or of 
damaging his credit. He had merely set forth certain articles 
showing the disorders that had crept into the Court and household. 
These led to a second effort at reform by the Lord President and 
Sir Richard Shuttleworth, Chief Justice of Chester, details of 
which are given in a statement dated July 29th, 1591.^ Excessive 

' Lansdowne MSS. 63, fi". 88-98, ad init. - Ibid., 67, f. 243. 


fees had been abolished, a table set up to show the lawful 
amounts, the number of the counsellors at the Bar had been 
diminished to eight, and of the attorneys to eighteen, and the 
number of clerks reduced from one hundred to eighteen. The 
office of the signet had been looked into, also that of the 
porter, and order had been taken for the economical management 
of the household. Much, however, remained to be done, for 
in 1593 the Privy Council drew up a series of Articles to be 
considered of for the government of Wales.^ It was still 
necessary to admonish the Council of the Marches to observe 
the instructions, and especially to occupy their time in hearing 
misdemeanours rather than cases triable at common law. They 
were bidden to give notice against the wearing of weapons in 
church, fairs, and markets, and were reminded that the receiving 
of retainers was at the root of most disorders in the Principality 
and Marches of Wales. They were also to examine the mis- 
conduct of sheriffs, who, contrary to ancient practice, kept Courts 
every week or fortnight, to the great loss and impoverishment of 
poor subjects. Lastly, it is added that " the Recusantes do 
swarme, no man but theire owne companies doe know where 
they were married, by whome or in what place, where theire 
Children were christened. Theire Children be learned, and bred 
by scholemasters of their own creed, nor who be theire godfathers 
and godmothers." 

A list of abuses, dated 1594, deals with the excessive number 
of clerks who occasioned multiplicity of suits and great dis- 
orders. Other clauses show the conflict between the jurisdiction 
of the Council and that of the common law Courts. Thus : 

" If a man sue for debt uppon a simple contract at the Comon 
Lawe, wherein there is no forfaiture, he shall be stayed there. 
And after that he hath spent the tyme and money he shalbe 
dismissed to the Lawe. 

" If a man distrayne for his Rent he shalbe compelled to 
delyuer the Cattell and to staye the Suyte at the Common Lawe 
untill the cause be first hard there. 

"And so it is yf an accon of trespasse be comenced for entring 
' Lansdowne MSS. 76, ff. 1416-9. 


into Landes where the tytle of the Landes cometh in question. 
In all penall lawes upon Statutes, As Tanners for not tanning of 
Leather according to Lawe, or for wearing of Hattes upon 
Sondayes, or for not sowing of fflaxe and hempe or for usurye 
and all other such like penall Lawes men are compelled to 
answere Interrogatories upon their oathes and to accuse them- 
selves without any prooff produced against them, or elles be 
periured, which is lamentable for many poore men. And some 
Riche will strayne their oaths rather than paye greate ffynes." ^ 

The evidence points to the conclusion that in spite of the 
Lord President's attempts at reform, the condition of the Court 
continued unsatisfactory. Unfortunately he seems to have fallen 
out with Sir Richard Shuttleworth on a small matter of riding 
charges. Shuttleworth, writing to Burghley in January, 1595, 
about this grievance, complains that his predecessors have always 
had such an allowance, and at the same time takes occasion 
to remark acrimoniously that the only reformation accomplished 
has been the keeping of a true copy of the instructions. At the 
last audit, he adds, the allowances made by the Lord President 
and some others of the Council amounted to ;^ioi5 8^-. 2d. He 
has forborne to sign the book till he hears what allowances are 
to be made out of the fines and what out of the diet money. 

Pembroke's Presidency is chiefly marked by complaints against 
the Court. In general the cases that came up for trial would 
seem to have been of much the same character as hitherto. 
One or two, however, may be mentioned as presenting features of 
some interest. The first is a case against the Chancellor, Registrar 
and Apparitor of the Bishop of St. David's, for calling a number 
of persons to the Courts without cause, which, as Pembroke 
justly remarked, was a " coUorable conning Comortha, not only 
by law but her Mat^^ Instructions and her spetiall commaunde- 
ment to myself often and as your LP [Burghley] doth know, 
straightly forbidden." Evidence was given showing that many 
hundreds of persons, churchwardens and others, had been 

' Lansdowne MSS. 76, ff 1416-9 (May, 1594, Abuses in y® Counsell of 
y"^ Marches of Wales). 


summoned before these Ecclesiastical Courts.^ Very few charges 
were alleged against them, and yet fees were exacted from all 
who appeared, and half fees from the absent. Courts kept in 
this manner, is Pembroke's caustic comment, were " only ad 
colligendum as wee conceaved, not ad corrigeiiduni, as by these 
offences was pretended." ^ The following evidence may serve 
as a specimen : 

" Thomas Worhall proveth that hee and xv<^" more of Begildy 
were citted and that he and two more only appeared where the 
deffendant Havard demaunded whether they were at Churche 
upon the Queenes holy daye which was all the matter layd to 
their chardge ; where le deponent and his two neighboures that 
appeared paied ij^ viij'' a peece, viz. viij^ and le deponent then 
payd to le defendant Havard iiij"* for two of his neyghbours who 
did not at all appear, they then were discharged, no matter 
was then examined, and nothing said unto them, but the money 
receaved (viz. xij^ in toto) and they discharged." 

The evidence of thirty-eight witnesses is recorded, and it is 
added that most of them prove "howe the Countrye exclayme 
against the deffendantes for theire infynite vexacion and for 
the same extorcion." Pembroke was inclined to punish the ac- 
cused, but as Sir Richard Shuttleworth was of opinion that 
the cause, being ecclesiastical, was outside the competence of the 
Court, he asked Lord Burghley to advise him of the queen's 
pleasure in the matter. 

Another case of extortion is that against William Thomas, of 
Carnarvon, who had received from forty-six person sums 
varying in amount from ;!^2o to £,^. He had also received 
cows, a mare, a gelding, a " spurre Royall," " a silver salte parcell 
gilte"; in all, money and cattle to the value of ^175 12s. 8d., 
besides the silver salt. It is added that, had not the Com- 
missioners directed to examine into his exactions been discharged, 
forty times more bribes and extortions would have been proved 
against him. Over and above all this, he and his friends had 

' Vis. at the Consistory Court, which, it is alleged, was held every 

■-' Lansdowne MSS. 84, f( 84-5. 


by force driven away fifteen cows, a bull, and a heifer, taking 
them over from Carnarvonshire into Anglesey, "verie late in 
the night," selling them there, and crowning his misdeeds by 
imprisoning the luckless owner without just cause. He had 
also been guilty of champerty, buying the title of Griffith ap 
Robert to a certain tenement, entering by force, and keeping 
possession without payment. In a similar case he had " pitched 
in a foote " and got for nothing the lands from two parties at 

A third case brings up a question of which more must be 
said later — viz. the relation of the Council in the Marches to 
the Ecclesiastical Courts. A certain Simon Cotherington was 
called before the Council for evil living, and confessed his guilt, 
but to avoid due punishment alleged that he had already been 
punished by his ordinary, the Chancellor of Gloucester, with 
corporal penance, commuted to a penalty of ;^3o, to be paid 
in three yearly instalments towards the maintenance of a free 
scholar at Oxford. Notwithstanding the production of an Act 
under the Chancellor's seal, dated February 27th, 1596, the 
Lord President and Council punished Cotherington with fine 
and imprisonment, " for that they conceaved that Commutacon 
to be but a covenouse and fraudulent practize to avoid the 
danger of lawes, and, supposing it to have bin sincearly proceded 
in, yet they took a further penaltie to be both lawfuU and 
nedefull." Various reasons induced the Council to think that 
the Chancellor was confederate with Cotherington ; indeed, it 
would appear that he was to have ;^3o if Cotherington were 
discharged from the Court of the Marches. Pembroke, in writing 
to the Privy Council, refers to a petition presented to them on 
Cotherington's behalf, and to an order thereon that he should 
be released from the fines imposed on him by the Court. Against 
this he urges that the double punishment seems to have been 
contemplated by the instructions, and was paralleled by double 
punishment in case of usury, where both the congregation and 
the law had to be satisfied. Cotherington, it seems, had arranged 

' Lansdowne MSS. in, f. 7. 


matters in his own interest with the Chancellor in his study, 
not in open Court ; and " if publique shame, open detection 
and deepe fines could not restraine him, it is likely he will 
not heereafter be more regardfull when all may be ended better 
cheape with a frend in his studie." ^ 

The Recusancy Laws, especially those of 1585 and 1593, 
furnished the Council with more work. The Lord President, 
in enumerating the various offices in the Council, speaks of a 
certain Scrope who was displaced for refusing to receive the Com- 
munion with the rest of the household, as enjoined by art. 35 of 
the instructions of 1586.^ An undated document headed The 
Requestes of the Lord President of Wales " expresses a desire that 
the Commission for causes ecclesiastical might be renewed for 
the correction of such faults as were very necessary to be looked 
unto, and especially of such as were contained in the last statute 
of recusants. He further asks that this last statute might be 
sent down, that some help might be h^d for the case of 
praemunire, and that the Lord President and Council or any four 
of them might call on the bishops whose jurisdiction reached 
to any part of the Council's Commission, and on all other 
ecclesiastical judges and ministers to account for the commuta- 
tions (sc. of penance) made by any of the inhabitants. An 
order of the Privy Council directed the Lord President to find 
out persons fit to hold inquiry for Jesuits, seminary priests, etc., 
" such lewde and suspected persons as do lurke in those remote 
places." It would appear from the letters which follow (addressed 
to certain trusty persons in Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire) 
that the common people still resorted by night to places where 

' Lansdowne MSS. 87, f. 26. 

- Ibid., 51, ff. 103-14. First in the list of penal statutes to be enforced 
by the Council of the Marches according to art. 43 of the instructions of 
1586 come: "All the acts in sorte ordeyned for unyformitie of common 
prayer, divine service, and for causing all persons to resorte to churches to 
divine service so as at the hearing and determyning thereof some of the 
Bushopps of that Counsaill may asiste the L. President and Counsaill for the 
better performaunce and due execucion of the said lawes and Statutes as 


in times gone by there had been images or offerings. To check 
this practice it was ordered that " superstitious and idolatrous " 
monuments were to pulled down, broken, and quite defaced 
in both counties.! There are not a few indications of the 
sympathy felt in Wales towards recusants — e.g. a priest sent by 
the Council from Monmouth gaol was forcibly rescued.^ This 
sympathy, according to Pembroke, was shown even by members 
of the Council. Writing to Lord Burghley in 1590, he says that 
some of them are "coldlie affected in relligion," and asks that 
persons " of good disposicion in relligion " may be added to 
their number.^ 

Pembroke's position as Lord President was by no means 
pleasant. The Council over which he presided had seen its 
best days, and was becoming unpopular, while the Privy Council, 
the Star Chamber, and the Common Law Courts tended to 
withdraw from it all important cases. In 1590 he wrote bitterly 
to Burghley : " And let me plainly write to your Lordship 
as to my much honored friend that her ma**'' not respecting me 
therein [i.e. in the matter of supplying him with fit Councillors] 
hath occacioned me to continue lesse at that Counsaill then 
I meant. I have there been misreported of without dezert : 
I haue also founde myselfe mallised without cause ; yea dis- 
covery made of speeches used by some as thoughe they purposed 
to poison me. All those thinges have bin made knowen to them 
who should yeald justice in the same, and yet am I farre from 
being regarded therin, as every lewd varieties informacion is 
still receaved against me and howe incredible soe ever, yet if 
it concerne me, it shall finde some ready to geeve therunto creditt 
and countenance. I need not for prouf heerof looke farre back ; 
but to remember your Lordship of somewhat even within fewe 
daies donne at the Counsaill bourde, wherwith I take myself 
greatlie wronged and if I be not righted therin, I shall be sorry 

' A.P.C. 22, pp. 543-5 (1592). 2 Ibid., 16, p. 95 (1588). 

^ Lansdowne MSS. 63, f. 187. For the religious condition of Wales at this 
time see Lansdowne MSS. 159, f. 50, and Penry's exhortation to the 
governors and people of Wales (dedicated to the Earl of Pembroke), 
especially p. 15 of the 1588 edition. 


to finde myself soe unkindly used by them from whom I haue 
dezerved better." ^ 

During the last few years of his Presidency the earl can hardly 
have been fit to improve the condition of the Court to any 
material degree. In 1595 he is described (Sydney Papers, i. 372) 
as very "pursife and maladise," and in September, 1599, his life 
was despaired of. In January, 1601, he died at Wilton, and was 
buried in Salisbury Cathedral. 

An important description of the Council of the Marches at 
this period survives in the Dialogue on the Government of Wales 
between Barthol, a Doctor of the Civil Laws, and Demetus, a 
Pembrokeshire man. It was. written in 1594 by George Owen of 
Henllys, and will be published before long in the Cymmrodorion 
Record Series. Demetus begins with a general description of 
the Court of the Marches, comparing it to the Chancery and the 
Star Chamber, and noting the benefits it confers. " Generallye 
it is the very place of refuge for the poore oppressed of this 
Country of Wales to flye unto . . . and for this cause it is as 
greatly frequented w*'^ suytes as any one Court att Westminster 
whatsoever, the more for that it is the best Cheape Court in 
England for fifees and there is great speed made in tryall of all 
Causes." He then states the days for beginning and end of the 
terms, each of which then lasted a month, and concludes : " This 
Court is it w'ch att the begininge brought Wales to that Civilitye 
and quietnes that yo" nowe see it from that wild and out- 
ragious state that yo" shall reade of." Some, he adds, talk of 
abolishing it as unnecessary, but this could not be done without 
great risk. Barthol replies that during a journey through the 
Council's jurisdiction he has heard many complaints of heavy 
charges and the entertainment of frivolous suits. Demetus agrees 
that these abuses exist. The rest of the dialogue, so far as the 
Court of the Marches is concerned, is taken up with a description 
of the existing abuses and suggestions for remedies. Strictures 
are passed on the smallness of the costs awarded (to the en- 
couragement of vexatious suits), the large number of attorneys, the 
unnecessary processes, and on the undue extension of the Court's 
• Lansdowne MSS. 63, f. 187. 


jurisdiction to matters that might be left to the common law. 
On the other hand, the Court is praised for the speedy trial 
yielded after appearance, and for the rule that every process must 
be grounded on a bill signed by the Councillors. The conclusion 
reached is that the defects of the Court are small in comparison 
with its merits, and might with little trouble be redressed.^ 

' Lansdowne MSS. 2i6, fif. 34-9, and Had. MSS. 141, ff. 28-85. 


WATER, 1631-42 

After the Earl of Pembroke's death, the Council of the Marches 
rapidly declined in importance. Up to 163 1, when the Bridge- 
water MSS. become available, there is comparatively little 
information as to its actual work. On the other hand, a large 
number of documents (several in duplicate) exist, referring to 
its jurisdiction over the four Border counties. The men who 
held the office of Lord President were of no great distinction ; in 
fact, the post seems to have been regarded at this time as little 
more than a comfortable sinecure. Pembroke's immediate 
successor was Lord Zouch, the friend of Ben Jonson, and from 
1615 to 1624 Warden of the Cinque Ports. ^ In 1607 Lord 
Zouch was succeeded by Lord Eure, who held office till 16 16, 
when he was followed by Lord Gerard (1616-7), aad then by 
the Earl of Northampton, whose tenure lasted till 1630. The 
office was then vacant for a while, the duties being performed 
probably by Sir John Bridgeman, Chief Justice of Chester, till 
the appointment of the Earl of Bridgewater in 1631. 

Lord Zouch began his tenure of office at the close of Elizabeth's 
reign, June, 1602, and his Commission was renewed on James's 
accession. In the autumn of 1602 Chamberlain writes : " Lord 
Zouche plays rex in Wales and takes upon him comme im 
Millord (PAngleterre both with the counsaile and justices as also 
with the poor Welshmen." ^ 

' Chamberlain's Letters (Camden Societj'), pp. 14, 108, 139. 
"^ S.P.D., Eliz., Vol. CCLXXXV. (Cal. 1601-3, p. 249). 

129 9 


We also learn that he began " to know and use his authority," 
even going so far as to slight the Chief Justice of Chester by 
throwing down the cushion, laid according to usage beside his 
own, with the words that " one was enough for that place." ^ 
Very soon his jurisdiction came into question, and the " tedious 
business of the Marches," over which so much ink and paper 
were expended, began. 

The dispute arose out of the claim of one Fareley, or Farley, 
to hold a piece of land under a lease from a deceased copyholder. 
The widow of the latter claimed to re-enter and make void the 
lease, and obtained from the Court of the Marches that Fareley 
should suffer her to have possession till the Court of the Manor 
had tried the right.^ Fareley disobeyed this order, and was 
imprisoned by the Council ; whereupon he sued out a writ of 
Habeas corpus ann causa from the King's Bench. This writ 
was disobeyed by the Council, "for that none of that nature had 
ever taken place." It would seem that one had been issued in 
the Earl of Pembroke's time, but not returned. At this stage 
Lord Zouch brought the dispute before the Privy Council. Coke, 
the Attorney-General, acted on behalf of the King's Bench, Sir 
John Croke and Sir Francis Bacon for the Council. After several 
conferences of counsel, it was agreed that the King's Bench had 
the general right and duty of seeing that Courts like that of the 
Marches kept within their due limits, but that it was bound to 
guard against abuse of the writ of Habeas Corpus.^ The matter 
left in dispute was the extent of the Council's jurisdiction, though 
this does not seem to have been in the mind of the King's Bench 
Judges who awarded the writ. 

' Harl. MSS. 5353 (Manningham's Diary, Camden Society, p. 58). 

^ Croke's Reports, Trin. Term., 2 Jac. (1604), ed. 1791, Vol. II., p. 36, 
-case 12, Fareley's case. Prohibition : " It was held by all the Court that 
if a copyholder make a lease for years whereof a Jcme by custom is to have 
Jier widow'' s estate, she shall not avoid the lease, unless there be a special 
custom to avoid it ; for he comes under the custom and by the lord's licence 
as well as the feme. This case depended before the Council of the Marches 
of Wales, and they, giving orders there against the lessee for the feme, a 
prohibition was granted to stay the execution of those orders." 

2 Brit. Mus. Add. MSS., 25,244, f. 84. 


The question, however, was no new one. In EHzabeth's reign 
the city of Bristol had felt itself aggrieved by being included 
in the sphere of the Council's jurisdiction, and had successfully 
petitioned the queen for exemption. In the Bristol Chronicle 
is the entry: " In the year 1561 or 2, the citizens of Bristol by 
the cost and industry of this Mayor were exempted for ever 
from the Marches of Wales ; which before had been great trouble 
and expence to them."^ A few years later Cheshire had 
secured exemption on the ground that it was a county palatine. 
One Radforde had questioned the Council's jurisdiction over 
the county ; whereupon it was referred, on February 2nd, 1569, to 
Sir James Dyer, Chief Justice of the Common Pleas, Richard 
Weston and Richard Harpur, Justices of the same Court, and 
Thomas Carus, Justice of the Peace. Their opinion, which was 
presented to the queen on February roth, contained the 
following arguments : 

1. That the county of Chester had been a county palatine 

before the reign of Henry III., and that of very ancient 
time the city also had been a county of itself. Therefore 
its ancient laws and usages should be maintained. 

2. That the Chamberlain of Chester had during all this time 

exercised the jurisdiction of a Chancellor within the said 
county palatine, while before the Justice of Chester were 
heard and determined matters of Common Pleas and 
Pleas of the Crown. Therefore all pleas of lands or 
tenements, etc., arising within the same county palatine 
ought to be there determined, except in a few cases 
such as in cause of error, etc. 

3. That the Court of the Exchequer at Chester has been and 

is still the Chancery Court of the County Palatine of 
Chester, the Chamberlain being the chief officer and 

1 Seyer, Memoirs of Bristol, Vol. II., Ch. XXVL, p. 238, § 3. Barrett's 
Bristol, p. 685; also Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 25,244 (Collections out of Bookes 
receaued from the Earle of Salisbury). " Temp'e Eliz. The City of Bristol! 
which is in the County of Gloucester and was formerly included within 
the Jurisdiction of the Counsell is at theyr speciall suit exempted as to 
reall and mixt actions and continued as to personall suites and matters 
touching the peace and Crowne." 


judge, and having authority equal to that of the Chancellor 
of the Duchy of Lancaster. 

4. That in the opinion of the four Justices the Vice-Chamber- 

lain of Chester had rightfully imprisoned Thomas Radforde 
for refusing to put in sureties of the peace within the 
said Exchequer, upon affidavit made in that behalf; 
while the proceedings of the Council of the Marches 
in releasing Radforde and issuing an order against the 
Vice-Chamberlain were contrary to the ancient laws and 
liberties of the County Palatine of Chester. 

5. That neither the County nor the City of Chester was 

included in the Dominion of Wales and the Marches 
of the same, and therefore neither was affected by the 
statute 34 & 35 H. VIII., c. 26. 

6. That for the enjoyment of the above liberties the inhabit- 

ants of the county of Chester have paid at the change 

of every owner of the earldom a mise of 3,000 marks, 

and the inhabitants of the County of Flint (being 

parcel of the said county palatine) 2,000 marks.' 

On March i6th, 1569, Elizabeth wrote to the Lord Chancellor, 

Sir Nicholas Bacon, enclosing the opinion of the Justices, and 

directing him to order its entry and enrolment in the Chancery, 

there to remain of record, and to be used and exemplified 

hereafter for the benefit of the residents in the county of 


Five years later — in 1574 — the jurisdiction of the Council over 
the city and county of Worcester was questioned by one 
Wilde, acting, it appears, on behalf of certain lawyers. The 
Privy Council referred the case to Mr. Attorney Gerard and 
the Solicitor-General Bromley. Wilde meantime was to be 
released from the custody of the knight marshal, on giving 
bond for ;^2oo to appear when summoned and on the first 
day of the next term. He was not to prejudice the controversy 
in any way, and the Lord President was to see that he was free 
from molestation so long as he behaved himself dutifully. On 

' Brit. Mus. Cott. MSS., Vitellius, C. i., ff. 208-9. 
- Ibid., Add. MSS. 25,244, ff. 2b, 3, 4. 


April 28th he appeared; on May 2nd the Attorney and 
Solicitor-General were directed to examine the controversy, 
while Mr. Recorder of London and Mr. Bell were to be 
admitted as Wilde's counsel. On May 13th the Attorney and 
Solicitor-General reported against Wilde that both the city 
and county of Worcester were subject to the jurisdiction of the 
Council of the Marches ; whereupon his bond was restored. It 
is possible that a later entry in the Acts of the Privy Council 
refers to this same Wilde. In reference to an appeal from the 
Welsh Council it is stated that too strict an imprisonment has 
been imposed on Wilde, and that such course is to be taken 
as is agreeable to justice and " meetest for the preservacion 
of the jurisdiction of that Counsell whereof for her Majesties 
service their Lordships have a speciall consideration."^ 

These three cases of Bristol, Chester, and Worcester show 
that there was ample precedent for those who aimed at limit- 
ing the Council's jurisdiction. In Michaelmas Term, 2 Jac. 
(1604), all the Justices and the Barons of the Exchequer were 
assembled by the king's command, and after the hearing of 
counsel and long deliberation, they resolved una voce that the 
four Border counties were not within the jurisdiction of the 
Council. The King's Bench then proceeded against the ofificer 
of the Council of the Marches, who had Fareley in custody. 
Lord Zouch was highly indignant at this slight, and it would 
seem that he ceased henceforth to discharge his duties as Lord 
President, while the authority of the Council was practically in 
abeyance within the four shires. Apparently also some new 
instructions were drawn up, though whether they were actually 
issued is doubtful.^ Meanwhile Lord Zouch and members of 
the Council were busy collecting precedents, and urging on 
king and Privy Council the dangers that would result from any 
diminution of the Council's authority. The House of Commons 
now took the matter up, and in March, 1606, passed a Bill for 

' A.P.C., Vol. VIII., pp.200, 204, 207, 231, 234, 236, and Vol. XIV., p. 187. 

- S.P.D., Jas. I, Vol. XXXI. 31 (Memorandum of the differences between 
the present and former instructions relative to the office and powers of the 
President and Council of Wales). 


explaining the Act 34 & 35 H. VIII., c. 26, which was rejected 
by the House of Lords. In May another Bill to the same 
effect passed the Commons, after which it was dropped, Sir 
Herbert Croft, the mover, resolving to " rest upon His Majesty's 
Grace for the execution of the law." ^ 

Among the Domestic State Papers for 1606 are preserved two 
copies of the Bill passed in March. The longer appears to be 
the original draft ; it contains marginal notes of objections to 
various statements which are omitted in the shorter form. In 
the following copy the bracketed words show what was omitted 
from the original draft : 

"An act for the better explayninge of a former act made in 
xxxiiij*^^ yeare of the Raigne of Kinge Henry the viij concerninge 
ordinances made for Wales (and establishinge of the governement 
of the Lord president and Councell theare). 

" Whereas by a Parliament holden at Westm'' in the xxxiiij**^ 
yeare of the raigne of Kinge Henry the viij*''' there were certaine 
ordinances enacted for the dominion and Principalitie of Wales 
at the humble peticon of the inhabitantes thereof. By which 
it was endeauored to reduce the s'^ dominion and inhabitantes 
of the same (from certaine lawes and customes before used 
amongst them) to a more fit governement (for w'^'' cause a 
President and Councell were established within the said dominion 
and Principalitie of Wales and the marches thereof, with other 
Judges, Justices and officers fit for orderinge, governinge and 
guidinge of the Inhabitantes in the ordinances then enacted for 
them). And whereas the Counties of Glocester, and the Cittie 
and Countie of the Cittie of Glocester and also the Counties 
of Worcester, Hereford and Salop were allwaies meere {i.e. 
absolutely) English Counties being governed of auncient under 
and by the lawes and Statutes of this Kingdome (in like sort and 
manner as all other the Counties of this Realme were and of 
right ought to be) yet notwithstandinge of late yeares the 

' Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. I., pp. 272, 276, 277, 281, 296, 
297, 308, 309. Journals of the House of Lords, Vol. II., under dates 
March 13th, March 25th, April 3rd, April 7th, 1606. 


President and Councell established in the dominion, principalitie 
and Marches of Wales haue exercised some iurisdiction in the 
same Counties and Cittie pretendinge the same to be parcell 
of the Marches of Wales (to the grief of manie Subiectes 
inhabitinge within the said Counties and Cittie). Be it therefore 
declared adiudged and enacted by the Kinges most excellent 
Ma"'^, the Lordes Spirituall and temporall and Comons in this 
present Parliament assembled and by the authoritie of the same, 
That neither the Counties nor Cittie aforesaid nor anie of them 
(nor any part of them or anie of them) are [nor at any tyme since 
the Statute made in the xxvij*'^ yeare of the Raigne of Kinge 
Henry the viij'''' (intituled an Act for Lawes and Justice to be 
ministred in Wales in like forme as it is in this Realme) were] 
anie parte of the Dominion, Principalitie or Countrey of Wales, 
or of the Marches of the same nor by the said Statutes (made 
in the xxvij*''^ and xxxiiij"^ yeares of the Raigne of Kinge Henry 
the viij*"' or either of them or the true meaninge of them or of 
either of| them) were intended to be subiecte to the governement 
or Jurisdiction of the said President and Councell of Wales, 
Provided allwaies and be it enacted by authoritie of this present 
Parliament that no person or persons shalbe admitted or 
receaued hereafter to bringe or comence anie action, plaint, or 
suite (of false imprisonment, Battery, trespasse or action of the 
case) upon anie imprisonment. Battery, Corporall punishment, 
entrie or other trespasse done heretofore within anie of the said 
foure Counties or Cittie by warrant, power, authoritie, or execution 
of anie order, decree or warrant made by the Lord President 
of the said Councell or by the Court of the Lord President and 
Councell or by the said Councell or by any of them." ^ 

Accompanying these drafts is an examination — i.e. hostile 
criticism — the nature of which may be gathered from the words : 
" The Bill drawen to explane this lawe consisteth of certein false 
positions alledged in the preamble and absurde conclusions made 
therupon in the purview or body of the Acte."^ The writer 
has no difficulty in pointing out four false positions and four 

' S.P.D., Jas. I., 1606, Vol. XIX., ft'. 33-5. 

- A criticism to much the same effect is in the Tanner MSS. 91, 9, f. 139. 


absurd conclusions (contained especially in the bracketed words 
above); he then passes on to note "certaine Inconveniences 
which (like straung and mo'strous children) this New Lawe must 
needes bring furth, if it should haue passage." This evil brood, 
he maintains, would num.ber twelve at least, beginning with 
danger to the king's prerogative, dishonour to his predecessors 
and all their Councillors of State, judges and Council learned, 
condemnation of all past Lords President, and risk that other 
statutes would be misinterpreted against meaning and usage. 
Furthermore " it will cast a generall skorne and contempt upon 
the Remainder of aucthoritie left in that Court for hereafter 
and make the Welshmen despised by the English, who are now 
by their common governement holden in termes of Love ; and so 
will ere longe revive the auncient enmytie betweene those two 
people and bring all to the old confusion againe : which as no- 
thing could redresse at first but that Court, so it is not probable 
anie thing can better prevent then the continuance of the same." 
All traffic and commerce between the English and Welsh would 
cease for lack of equal remedy. Welshmen would have to 
answer at the Council of the Marches on the suit of Englishmen, 
but would not be able to implead them at Westminster. Again, 
"the poore, the widow and the orphant, for whose relief this 
Court was speciallie erected, not being admitted to haue remedie 
here and not able to seeke it at Westm'', shalbe oppressed; it 
being too well knowen that those 4 Counties are as apte to 
' banding and siding ' as Wales and that in all disorders the 
gentlemen are alwaies principally parties or apparent favourers, 
so as iustice shall seldome prevaile, but where it is seconded with 
the strongest faction as by late examples maie be made to 
appeare." Any outbreak resulting from Welsh jealousy of the 
four shires, if exempted, could not be so easily repressed as 
at present. Wales would certainly put in a plea for exemption, 
and the Council of the North would be likewise endangered. 
All orders and decrees of the Court would be void; men 
punished for perjury would be declared no perjurers; fines of 
great value paid into His Majesty's receipt might have to be 
restored ; the Council officials would be in great straits, especially 


the Porter, " unlesse the Kinges Ma'tie be gracious unto him 
to staie the violent course intended against him." The writer 
avers that the change is sought especially by men of " Popish 
or doubtfull religion," and now especiallie because the Lord 
President is soundlie afifected." There were said to be twenty 
thousand recusants in the four counties and some parts of Wales 
adjoining. In conclusion, the time was specially inappropriate 
when there was a Prince of Wales, and when " we generallie 
desire the happie union of what hath been long severed and 

In August, 1607, Lord Eure was appointed Lord President, 
with instructions of which an abstract survives.^ The twelfth 
article is given in full among the Bridgewater MSS., and is 
to the effect that, whereas the question has been raised whether 
the four counties are parcel of the Marches of Wales, His 
Majesty ordains that the Lord President and Council shall hear 
and determine all manner of debts not exceeding the sum of 
;^io arising within any of the four counties, and also trespasses 
where the damages do not exceed the same sum.^ 

Submission even to this limited jurisdiction seemed to the 
supporters of the contention of the four counties equivalent to 
giving up their case : they felt, too, that the king had broken 
faith with them, and were irritated at the proceedings of the 
Privy Council and of Lord Eure, the new Lord President. 
Sir Herbert Croft, the leader of the opposition, was put out of 
the Commission of Lieutenancy and of the Peace. In retaliation 
for this, according to Lord Eure, he pursued the matter further, 
and took up the case of one of his tenants. A complaint 
having been made about the conduct of a magistrate, the Council 
of the Marches had called the parties before them, and without 
disclosing that they were acting ultra vires, had induced them to 
submit to arbitration. Sir Herbert Croft obtained a prohibition, 
with the result that a serious resistance was organised against 
the Council. The Bishop of Hereford and twenty-six of the 

' Brit. Mus. Cott. MSS., Vitellius, C. i., ff. 197-204. 
- Bridgewater MSS., Welsh Council Papers, 13. 


leading gentry urged Croft to continue the opposition, while 
Sir John Packington, Sheriff of Worcestershire and his under- 
sheriff, refused to obey the Council's precepts.^ Lord Eure 
wrote to Salisbury describing the difficult position in which he 
was placed, through the "generall disobedience, many meetinges 
and Combination agamst the government of the Courte," and 
praying that he may be strengthened " against these Ambitious 
gentlemen, or otherwise that his Ma'ties will may be made 
knowne unto me, that I may know what to obey; for by this 
doubtfulnes both his Ma'tie is dishonored and his people 
discomforted." ^ 

Finally the matter was taken up by the Privy Council. In 
April, 1608, the Chief Justice of Chester repaired to London 
with records to uphold his case. Lord Eure being ready to join 
him when necessary. With the matter of the four counties was 
joined the question of the right of the King's Bench to issue 
prohibitions to other Courts ; the jurisdiction of the Council of 
York also came up for consideration. On November 6th, 
at a meeting of the Privy Council, the king propounded the 
question "whether the article of the Listructions touching 
hearing causes within the four shires under ^10 be agreeable 
to the law." Chief Justice Coke asked for time and a chance 
of hearing counsel before giving an answer. The matter was 
argued for six days, four of which were taken up by the counsel 
for the Crown and the Council of the Marches. Bacon, as 
Solicitor-General, was counsel for the Crown, and Serjeants 

' In Cottonian MSS., Vitellius, C. i., f. 205, is the answer of Thomas Corne- 
wall, who had evidently been asked to support the agitation. He writes: " I 
could be very well pleased to be freed from any law, but sith I must be 
subiect to any or all, then had I rather be unto this of the Principality than 
any other, being led thereunto as well for nearenes of the Place as also for 
that I know it to be his Ma'ties pleasure as also the noble Prince's, both 
whose Servant I am sworne. Besides this my father and selfe have here- 
tofore subscribed to the necessary government of the four English sheires^ 
to be within the Instruccions of the Councell in the Principality and 
Marches of Wales, which was ever since the establishing of that Court 
so intended and continued." 

- Cottonian MSS., Vitellius, C. i., f. 206. 


Hutton and Harris for the four counties.^ The opinion of the 
judges was dehvered by Coke in writing on February 3rd, 1609 ; 
as its tenor was not published, it was probably unfavourable 
to the Crown. 

During the rest of 1609 no further action seems to have been 
taken in the matter, but in 16 10 the numerous actions for false 
imprisonment and motions for prohibitions showed that the 
supporters for the four counties were returning to the charge. 
In Parliament their grievances were taken up by the House 
at large, but the king stopped legislation by a promise that 
he would, after midsummer next, give leave to any man to try 
the right. 2 The grand jury of Herefordshire presented the 
Court as a nuisance ; a declaration with five thousand signatures 
was issued to the same effect, and the processes of the Council 
were entirely set at naught in the four counties.^ 

Before the session of 16 14 Sir Herbert Croft tried to induce 
the king, through the influence of Somerset, to let the question 
come fairly before the Courts at Westminster, and even offered 
to answer in His Majesty's presence any objections to his case. 
His challenge wsls not taken up ; whereupon he tried to obtain 
the exemption of the four shires as a matter not of right, but 
of grace, asking that in the issue of new instructions they might 
be omitted. His request was not complied with, and in spite of 
the persistence with which it was urged, the agitation subsided. 
Sir Herbert Croft died in 1622. Before this, when Lord Compton 
(afterwards Earl of Northampton) succeeded Lord Gerard in 
161 7, the new instructions had made no distinction between 
Wales and the four English counties. Jurisdiction in civil 
suits up to ^50 was allowed in both. 

It will be convenient in this place to summarise the real 

' See Bacon's Works, ed. Spedding, Vol. VII., pp. 609, et seqq., with the 
valuable sketch of the case there given; cf. S.P.D., Jas. I., Vol. XXXVII., 
1608, November 8th, No. 53. 

- S.P.D., Jas. I., Vol. LVI., 1610, July 7th, No. 10. Petition of the House 
of Commons for redress of grievances among which is the jurisdiction 
exercised over the four counties. 

^ S.P.D., Jas. I., Vol. LVII. 96, 1610, October loth, and Vol. LVIII. 56^ 
l6io, December 3rd. 


grounds of the agitation against the Council's jurisdiction in the 
four counties, and then to notice the arguments employed by 
the advocates on both sides. There appears to have been a 
very strong sense of the " mischiefs and inconveniences " caused 
by the Council.^ Complaint was made of its illegal proceedings ; 
its interference with the common law Courts ; its undue extension 
of jurisdiction in matters of title, legacies, etc. ; its punishment of 
offenders already punished in other Courts ; and its hearing of 
trifling suits where a sum of less than ten shiUings was in- 
volved. It had "tortured the bodies of the Kinges subiectes for 
bare suspicion of felonye " ; had erected new offices in the Court 
to the burden of the subject, increased the fees, and vexed the 
inhabitants of the four counties with the carriage of provisions, 
etc., or exactions in lieu thereof. Furthermore, it was in the 
habit of receiving bribes to determine the place of its resort. 
The whole working of the Court, it was alleged, tended to the 
vexation of the subject, through the number of informers, relators, 
and cursitors, who made it their business to bring suits against 
persons already punished in the ecclesiastical Courts. The ex- 
amination on oaths and interrogatories forced the defendant 
either to accuse himself or to commit perjury. The settling of 
differences once commenced in the Court was hindered by the 
practice of compelling the prosecutor to bring his case to hearing 
on pain of a heavy fine. The sheriffs of the four counties were 
more plagued with executing the processes of the Court than 
with those of all the Courts of Westminster, and often found 
themselves punished for executing illegal orders. It was urged 
that the king lost heavily through the Court, having to pay 
almost ;^'iioo for the diet of the members, and receiving out of 
the fines but a few hundreds, though thousands were drawn 
annually from the subjects. Strongest of all were the arguments 
that four ancient English shires ought not to be put in a position 
different from that of others equally remote from the capital ; 
that the inhabitants ought not to be deprived of their ancient 

' A full summary of grievances is given in Bridgewater MSS., Welsh 
Council Papers, 2, 3 : see also list of authorities given above. 


right of trial iby jury and remedy by attaint; that the subject 
was in perpetual uncertainty as to the tenor of the instructions, 
which were alterable at the pleasure of the Crown ; lastly, that 
subjection to two jurisdictions a hundred miles apart {viz. at 
Ludlow and Westminster) caused intolerable distraction and 

In answer to all this, the supporters of the Council's jurisdiction 
used arguments of which the most important have been stated 
above. They admitted that certain abuses existed, and doubtless 
called for remedy, but denied that these furnished any excuse 
for the overthrow of the jurisdiction in the four counties. 

The legal arguments employed were lengthy and corfiplex, turning 
mainly on the interpretation of Henry VIII. 's statutes relating to 
Wales, the usage before and since his day, and the precedents 
for exemption in the cases of Bristol and Chester. Both sides 
admitted that the instructions to the Council were warranted by 
the statute of 1543, which gave the Lord President and Council 
authority to hear and determine such causes and matters as 
should be assigned to them by the king " within the said 
dominion and principality of Wales and Marches of the same." 
The question was briefly this : Could the four counties be fairly 
comprised under the word " Marches " ? As Bacon said, the 
question was but " the true construction of a monosyllable." 
On the side of the defence records were quoted to show that 
the Border counties had been considered to be " in marchiis 
Walliae." Year-books and chronicles were ransacked for instances 
in which Hereford, Shrewsbury, and other places in the four 
counties were spoken of as lying in the Marches. An instance 
of this line of argument is to be found in a document among 
the Bridgewater MSS., endorsed " Marches and Counsell of Wales. 
Miscellaneall Rapsody, v. hasty and defectiue." The writer 
found time to cite references to a long list of authorities, from 
Henry of Huntingdon and Giraldus Cambrensis down to Grafton, 
Camden, and Holinshed. But this display of ancient lore was 
met by the assertion that the word " Marches " meant the 
Marcher Lordships which had been abolished by the statute of 
1536. Did the statute of 1543 mean the counties or the lordships 


when it spoke of the Marches? Bacon laid stress on the fact 
that the Act of 1536 had already abolished all the Marcher 
Lordships, either annexing them to the ancient counties of Wales 
or England, or else forming them into new counties which were 
to be part of the Dominion of Wales. " Marches," therefore, 
could not mean Marcher Lordships. He strengthened his argu- 
ment by a comparison of two passages in the statute of 1543 — 
viz. " that there shall be and remain a Lord President and 
Council in the Dominion of Wales and the marches of the 
same," and the clause giving power and authority to the king to 
make and alter laws for the weal of his subjects in the Dominion 
of Wales. The word " Marches," he argues, was omitted in the 
second clause, because the king was not given power to alter 
laws in any part of the realm of England, and this proves that the 
word " Marches " in the former clause meant the four English 
counties. But against this view it was argued that the form 
of the Commission of oyer and terminer, which gave power and 
authority to the President and Council (" infra principalitatem 
Walliae et infra quattuor comitatus et marchias Walliae eisdem 
comitatibus adjacentes "), proved that the Marches were dis- 
tinct from the four counties. Bacon demolishes this argument 
by showing that the form of Commission dated further back 
than the statute of 1536, and was simply copied by the Clerk of 
the Crown, though the word " Marches " was quite superfluous 
after that date. 

On the whole, it seems as if both sides had a strong case ; the 
word " Marches " was so ambiguous that it could be taken in 
the sense of Border (in which it is employed to this day) or in 
the narrow sense of the Marcher Lordships. Those for the 
Council took the wide popular sense ;l those against, the narrow 
legal sense : and as the two sides differed on this fundamental 
question, it is not surprising that the case dragged on to so 
unconscionable a length. 

The arguments from precedent were entirely on the side of 
the Council. Its advocates had not the slightest difficulty in 
proving that its jurisdiction had been exercised in the four 
counties ever since 18 Ed. IV., and that it had received the 


•support of the Courts of Westminster, the Star Chamber, famous 
judges and learned counsel. Another strong argument in the 
same sense was the Council's title — viz. the " Council of, or in, 
the Marches of Wales," rather than the " Council of Wales " 
or "in Wales." Again, as Bacon argues, "the perpetual 
resiance and mansion of the Council " was evermore in the 
shires, and to imagine that a Court should not have jurisdiction 
in the place of its sitting was a thing utterly improbable, " for 
they should be tanguani piscis in arido." The only defence 
against these contentions was that usage availed nothing against 
.an Act of Parliament. 

In the third place, much stress was laid on the exemption 
of Cheshire on the ground that it formed no part of the Marches 
of Wales. The other side, however, easily proved the exemption 
to be due to the fact that Cheshire was a county palatine, and 
therefore on a different footing from the four counties. In 
fact, Bacon turns his adversaries' position by the assertion that 
the exemption of Cheshire made the inclusion of the four 
counties more certain, inasmuch as exceptio firmat legem in 
casibus non exceptis. The example of Bristol proved nothing, 
for it was left out of the instructions upon supplication made 
to the queen. 

The interest of the case lies mainly in this, that the king's 
prerogative and the existence of discretionary governments were 
conceived to be involved. " Discretionary governments," it was 
urged on the one side, " are most dangerous, and therefore the 
fewer of them in any state the better." ^ On the other side, 
James laid down with emphasis the sweeping doctrine, " All 
novelties are dangerous." " I wolde not," he says, " haue you 
medle with suche auntient Rightes of myne as I haue receaved 
from my predicessors, possessing them more inaioriim. I wolde 
bee loathe to bee quarrelled in my auntient rightes and posses- 
sions for that were to judge me unworthie of that which my 
predicessors had and lefte mee." To James the contention of 
the four counties seemed to " savour of particuler men's 

Bridgewater MSS., Welsh Council Papers, 2 


thoughtes." ^ In vain was it attempted to show that the juris- 
diction of the Council rested on a Parhamentary basis, and 
that the king's prerogative would not be affected by any change. 
James came to regard the matter as affecting not himself only, 
but also the young Prince of Wales. 

The king's views are clearly seen in the most interesting 
document of the many relating to this case — viz. the account 
of the proceedings on November 3rd, 1608, when all the judges 
save one met, with the Privy Council, to decide the long dispute. 
The judges were first called upon to say whether the king by 
his own prerogative and the statute of 34 H. VIII. could give 
power to the Lord President and Council to exercise jurisdiction 
within the four counties. They refused to give an answer, 
saying that if the case came before them judicially, they would 
decide it to the best of their ability. The Lord Chancellor 
urged that the matter should be considered as one of State, 
and that the judges, being members of the Privy Council, were 
sworn to give the king advice when called upon. They con- 
tinued silent ; whereupon the Lord Chamberlain went for the 
king, " who presently came to the Councell Table and brought 
the younge Prince with him whoe was seated upon a stoole by, 
but not at, the Table." Once more the judges refused to 
answer the question, even when propounded by the king. 
James spoke strongly of the hindrance caused to the Lord 
President and Council by prohibitions and the prejudicial effect 
that the weakening of the Council of the Marches would have 
on the Council of the North, the Court of Admiralty, the Court 
of Requests, and the Ecclesiastical Courts. 

In a long and rambling speech, in which he touched on 
Moses and Jethro, the Emperor Constantine, the Picts and Scots, 
the Heptarchy, and the growth of the English law Courts, James 
emphatically laid down the doctrine that " all lavve is but 
voluntas Regis" and "eius est interpretare cuius est condere." 
He then turned to the prince, saying, "This conserneth you, 
sir, and I hope you will loose no thinge which is yours." Coke, 
kneeling before the king, said that the question was one of fact, 

' Cottonian MSS., Vitellius, C. i., flf. 134-5 


and ought to come before a jury ; whereon the king " angerly " 
replied that judges derived their power merely from the royal 
will, and that all this mischief had come about through kings 
not sitting in Parliament. " Non doe oppose themselves against 
the Jurisdicon of the Councell in the marches but certen high- 
headed ffellowes calling them by a Scottish name mountinge 
ffellowes, in English swaggeringe ffellowes, such as Harbert Crofte 
and others to the number of 3 or 4, whoe because they would 
oppresse the meaner people and beare the whole sway of theire 
Country without Controulement doe oppose themselves against 
government and the state of the King. ... I knowe there 
might be wiser Kinges and more vertuous, and yett I knowe I 
am noe foole, I came not as a usurper but as a RightfuU Kinge 
discended out of the Loines of the Kinges of this Lande, and 
what prerogative to mee therein apperteigneth I will hould and 
mayntaine to the uttermost." 

After this outburst, the Lord Chief Justice and Chief Baron 
" swelled soe with anger that Teares fell from them." The 
king, remarking by the way that he had unfolded the " True 
Lawe of ffree Monarchies," again asked the judges for their 
reasons against the jurisdiction. They prayed for time, on the 
ground that the question had only just been propounded to 
them ; to this the king replied that the question was no longer 
new, having been twice debated in his own presence and oftener 
before the Lords of the Council. Coke rejoined that he 
and his brethren had not debated their answer together, and 
wished to avoid the fate of the ancient Britons, who " dum 
singuli pugnant, universi vincuntur." After more wrangling 
between the king and Coke, the sitting ended with a victory 
for the judges, who were given time to reconsider the matter. 
The whole account is very typical of James's method of dealing 
with constitutional questions.^ 

The few notices as to the Council's working at this time are 
of comparatively little interest. Lord Eure found his allowance 
inadequate for his expenses, and in 1609 begged Salisbury for 

' From a document among the Bridgewater MSS. (uncalendared in 
April, 1903). 



;^6oo a year, on the ground that he was compelled to sell his 
lands. ^ Tickenhill House and park, as we learn from a letter 
about this time, were going into decay, and needed thorough 
repairs. 2 Recusancy was still prevalent in the Border counties 
and South Wales,^ and we read of proceedings by the President 
and Council against Sir John Wynn of Gwydir for various 
flagrant acts of oppression. He was fined one hundred marks, 
and the king was asked to discharge him from the Council 
of the Marches and the lieutenancy of the county.* 

In 1611 the Lord President was required to return to the 
Privy Council a list of persons within his jurisdiction, capable 
of lending money to the king.' A notice of some interest 
relates to the free school of Carmarthen. The Earl of North- 
ampton wrote to the Justices of Assize, cos. Carmarthen, 
Pembroke, and Cardigan, bidding them call on Francis Mansell 
to deliver up certain moneys towards the erection of a free 
school at Carmarthen and collect a benevolence from those 
willing to contribute to so good a work.^ About the same time 
the earl wrote to Secretary Calvert expressing his approval of the 
petition from the Surveyor of the Crown lands in South Wales 
to the king. Waste lands, it is said, that have long been the 
resort of thieves and malefactors, and are therefore uninhabited, 
a^-e likely to be made useful by the care of the Lord President 
in rooting out such persons, and might be advantageously 
colonised from England. The petition asks that the Justices 
and other resident gentlemen may inquire into the extent and 
ownership of the said lands.'^ 

Another sign of increasing prosperity in Wales at this time 
was activity in mining operations. In 1623 the king ordered 
the Master and Officers of the Mint that all bullion sent up 
from the lately discovered mines of Wales should be coined 

' S.P.D., Jas. I., Vol. XLVII. 97, 1609, August 26th. 

2 Ibid., Vol. XLVII. 23. 

5 Ibid., Vol. XXVIII, 122, Vol. LXVIII. 75, etc. 

* Ibid., Vol. LXXXIV. 14. 

* Ibid., Vol. LXVII. 102, December 17th, 161 1. 

« Ibid., Vol. ex. 46. ' Ibid., Vol. CIX, 108, L, II. 


weekly into pieces bearing the arms of the prince, to distinguish 
them from other coins. The Lord President and Council, with 
others, were authorised to apprehend all persons found encroach- 
ing on the mines of Sir Hugh Middleton, in Cardiganshire, from 
which he had been able to extract silver and lead to the em- 
ployment of many poor and the general benefit of the 

The duties of the Lord President at this time seem to have 
been' mainly those of Lord Lieutenant in the counties of Wales 
and the Border ; he was expected to supervise the levying of 
troops for Ireland and the collection of loans, especially that 
of 1626. In January, 1627, a correspondence of considerable 
interest began between the Earl of Northampton and the Privy 
Council respecting the loan. He apologises for the delay in 
sending up certificates, on the ground that the country is 
extremely backward ; the inhabitants pretend poverty, the 
payment of subsidies, the charge for levies of soldiers, and the 
near prospect of a Parliament. Gloucestershire and Hereford- 
shire had sent in no answers, and a doubt had arisen whether 
the king's letter authorised the earl to require certificates beyond 
the Principality of Wales. He had received no help in com- 
piling the certificates from Shropshire and Flint, but found " in- 
finite difficulty in persuading men to discover the state of the 
country." A few days later he wrote again, sending the best 
certificates he could from cos. Radnor, Hereford, and Worcester, 
and enclosing a letter from the Deputy Lieutenants of Hereford- 
shire to the effect that certificates could not be called except 
from the counties of Wales. A little later he sends certificates 
for Privy Seals for cos. Gloucester, Denbigh, Carmarthen, 
Brecknock, Merioneth, and Cardigan, " no small task having so 
little assistance." In August of next year the feeling against 
the loan was just as strong, for the Justices of Pembrokeshire 
wrote to the Privy Council that the gentry and subsidy men 
excused themselves from presenting a voluntary supply to His 
Majesty on account of the extiaordinary burdens resting upon 
them and their diminished means. They add that " it had 
' S.P.D., Jas. I., Vol. CLII. 7, 22. 


ministered no small comfort to their hearts, if by course of 
Parliament this supply had been added to their former burden, 
although thereby they had ever so much needed." ^ 

In February, 1628, the Earl and Sir John Bridgeman wrote 
to the Privy Council an account of their success with the 
Commissioners for the Loans in Salop, Herefordshire, 
Gloucestershire, and Worcestershire. In the first-named two 
counties all the Commissioners had subscribed and paid, 
Shrewsbury and Ludlow being specially mentioned. In 
Gloucestershire, however, twelve out of the twenty-five had 
refused both payment and subscription, and had entered willingly 
into bonds of ^40, to appear before the Council of the Marches 
within fourteen days after notice. They had been urged to 
assist the Commissioners of the hundreds in which they dwelt, 
but had refused, saying it was not fit for them to persuade others 
to do that which they themselves had in conscience refused to 
do. In March the prospect for the loan was no brighter. In 
Gloucestershire there had been indifferent success with the 
inferior Court, but in other parts of the shire refusals were 
increasing. " If some course be not taken," the Earl adds, 
"with such as have so boldly denied, the service will suffer." 
In the same strain he writes to Secretary Conway that the 
gentlemen who are subject to censure or contempt for doing the 
king's service clamour for strong measures against the refractory.^ 

The Privy Council Books preserve some record of cases that 
came before the Council of the Marches between 1603 and 1631. 
It was still found to be a convenient Court of First Inquiry, 
especially in matters where His Majesty's service was specially 
concerned or where the ordinary course of law could not be 
safely followed. Thus the Privy Council wrote to Lord Eure 
asking him to examine into a petition containing allegations of 
poisoning, on the ground that there were "suggestions of practise 
in the matter," and that an attempt was being made to " blind 

' S.P.D., Car. I., Vol. XVIII. 33 (January i ith, i62f ), and 72 (January i6th, 
l62f), Vol. XIX. 68 (January 28th, 162?), Vol. XXXIII. 46, August 7th, 

2 Ibid., Vol. LIV., 28 (February 17th, i62|), and Vol. LVI. 12 
March 2nd, l62|). 


the eyes of justice." ^ Petitions seem now to have been addressed 
to the Privy Council rather than to the Council of the Marches, 
by no means to the satisfaction of the former body, which must 
have found itself overburdened with matters of detail. An 
instance is a petition from the late Sheriff of Pembrokeshire in 
November, 1618. The examination of the facts is referred to the 
Lord President and Council with the remark that the complainant 
would have done well to address himself to them first of all.^ 
Similarly the case of a maimed soldier is referred to the Lord 
President, " that the Board may be no further troubled here- 
withall." ^ Sometimes, however, the Council of the Marches 
was directed not only to examine but to conclude a case — e.g. 
the detention of evidences by Lady Vaughan's brother,^ and a 
false accusation against the Vicar of Eldersfield in Worcester- 
shire.^ That the Privy Council did its best to uphold the 
authority of the Council of the Marches may be seen from 
the case of Edward Fludd, counsellor-at-law, who had brought 
groundless charges against Sir Frances Eure (one of the 
members). Fludd was ordered to apologise before the Council 
of the Marches and at some place in a county of the North 
Wales Circuit at the next General Great Sessions. On his 
refusal, he was kept in prison between October, 16x9, and 
December, 1620, when, on giving sureties for his submission, 
he was promised an order for release.^ 

For the Trinity Term of the year 161 7 there survives a copy 
of an entry book similar to those among the Bridgewater MSS., 
which will be described later. It is prefaced by a summary of 
the most important cases heard during the term ; these include 
a case of duelling in which the challenger was fined ^200 and 
his opponent two hundred marks, and one of abusing the warrants 
of the High Commision Court and of the late Lord President 

' Council Register, June 27th, 1613 ; cf. August i6th, 1620, and Decem- 
ber 2nd, 1629. 

- Ibid., November 30th, 1618. ' Ibid., February 26th, 1623. 

^ Ibid., July 3rd, 1624. ^ Ibid., September 2ist, 1619. 

" Ibid., October 20th, 1619, December 21st, 1619, July 21st, 1620, and 
December 29th, 1620. 


touching recusants. In the latter case, say the Councillors, 
" wee did (for example to others) censure him to stand on the 
Pillorie, and com'itted him to Prison and fined him more 
then he is worth, being a fellow of no value." Informations 
had been exhibited by the Attorney of the Court against interlude 
players on the Sabbath, and against divers persons who had 
riotously entered into the house of a rich man lying on his death- 
bed. Order had been taken for the preservation of His Majesty's 
deer in the Border forests, parks, and chases, and for the 
" suppressing of superstitious flocking and resort of your Ma^* 
subiects unto Holliewell, comonly called St. Winifred's well." 
The summary concludes with the following complacent re- 
mark : " Lastlie whereas there haue been two prohibicions 
graunted out of your Highnes Bench for Causes dependinge 
here, wee haue certeffied your Ma"®^' Judges of the State 
of the Causes, whereupon they haue dissolued the prohibitions : 
So as now there resteth nether prohibition nor habeas Corpus 
dependinge betweene your Highnes Bench and this your 
Ma^'®^ Courte. But are at peace and unitie accordinge to 
your Ma^i^^ Royall direction." ^ 

The number of cases heard during the term was 407 ; of 
these about 25 per cent, were cases of debt, 14 per cent, of 
"affray," 13 per cent, of detaining various articles, especially 
bonds, and 11 per cent, of interruption. The other cases are 
of much the same character as those quoted later for the years 
1632 to 1642. The list certainly justifies the accusation against 
the Council that it entertained trifling and frivolous suits, for 
among the entries we find, "carrying away of pears," "beating 
of a mare," " detaining of cartwheels," and even " detaining of 
a kettle." 

In 1631 the Earl of Northampton was succeeded in his office by 
the Earl of Bridgewater, who had been a member of the Council 
of the Marches since 161 7. His tenure of office is noteworthy 
for many reasons. It was to celebrate his first public appearance 
in the Marches that Comus was first acted at Ludlow on 
Michaelmas Day, 1634, in the room which still bears the name 
' Brit. Mus. Royal MSS. 18, B. VII., f. 277. 


of the Comus Room. He lived to see the Court weakened 
by the Long Parliament and overthrown during the Civil War, 
and from his retirement at Ashridge in Hertfordshire he heard 
of the capture of Ludlow by the Parliamentary troops in 1646. 
Lastly, his correspondence has been most carefully preserved 
among the Bridgewater MSS., so that more details as to the 
cases before the Court of the Marches are extant for the years 
1632 to X642 than for any other period. He would seem to 
have been an extremely methodical, cautious man, delicate in 
health, and anxious to avoid political strife as far as might be. 
For the most part he lived at his house at Barbican, and paid 
only rare visits to Ludlow, keeping up, however, a constant 
correspondence with his steward there, and watching carefully 
over the business of the Court. 

Among the Bridgewater MSS. calendared for the Historical 
MSS. Commission ^ is mentioned, " Entry-book of cases heard 
before the Council in Jan. 1631." Two copies of this are 
preserved. They are paper books (rather smaller than foolscap 
size), sewn together ; one has on the outside, in a contemporary 
hand : 


Hillary Terme 

163 1 {i.e. 1632 N.S.) 

reci 10° feb. 163 1 {i.e. 1632 N.S.) 

In a modern hand below is the note, "Welsh Council Cause 

The book contains entries for each day of the term, giving 
details in the following order: (i) name of county; (2) names 
of plaintiff and defendant : (3) nature of suit ; (4) judgment. 
Thus : 

Die Veneris xiij'" die Januarii 163 1-2. 
Wigorn Humfrey Burleton q I , , 

Anthony Hill ^ [ debt, decree pro q. 

Cardigan Richard Morris q I , , 

XT Tj J ' debt, sine die. 

Hum: ap Harry d | 

' Hist. MSS. Report, XI., App. VII., p. 147, 


At the end of each week is entered the amount of fines 
imposed during that week, the sum total being entered at 
the end. 

The second of the books mentioned in the calendar contains 
the counties and names of parties ; but the judgments are not 
entered. At the end of each day's list the number of cases is 
given. The writing, except in a few instances of corrections, 
is not the same as that of the fuller book. 

In 1902 a number of entry books similar to these were 
transferred from the Bridgewater House library to the office 
of the Bridgewater Trust at Walkden. These cover the years 
1632 to 1642 : in all they are sixty-one in number, thirty-three 
being covered with parchment and tied with blue ribbons, twenty- 
eight being paper-covered like those described above. -^ A 
perusal of these books furnishes information on several points 
connected with the Court. 

I. Length of Sessions. — The Hilary Term began, as a rule, in 
the second week of January, and ended at some time in the last 
week. Lent Term began in the last week of February or the 
first of March, and lasted a fortnight. The length of Trinity 
Term varied a good deal : once it began as early as June 15 th, 
1636, and once as late as July 17th, 1635. ^^ was distinctly 
the longest and busiest term, as might be expected ; sometimes 
the sitting went on into August — e.g. in Trinity Term, 1635 
(July 17th to August 8th). Michaelmas Term beean in the 
first week of November, or sometimes in the second, and lasted 
for a fortnight or three weeks, sometimes longer, as in 1639, when 
the length of sitting was from November 6th to December 3rd. 
The average thus would seem to be a fortnight for the Hilary and 
Lent Terms, three weeks or more for the Trinity Term, and a 
fortnight or three weeks for the Michaelmas Term. 

' As a rule the parchment-covered books are written in copying hand, 
do not give the judgments, the number of cases, or the totals of fines ; 
also they often omit the last few cases. But they give the date of each 
suit, which the paper-covered books do not. 


2. Number of Cases heard and Amount of Fines imposed. — These 
can be most clearly shown by the following table : 


of Fines. 


Hilary Term . . 
Trinity Terra . . 

I s. d. 

607 13 4 

1,904 6 8 


Hilary Term . . 

330 6 8 

Lent Term . . 

not stated 

Trinity Term . . 

1,032 3 4 

Michaelmas Term 



Hilary Term . . 

442 10 

Lent Term . . . 

1,122 6 8 






Trinity Term . . not stated. 
For the first week 
the amount is 
£Zo and for the 
second £,'2<^S '^^ ^ 

Michaelmas Term 1,628 16 8 

Hilary Term . . not stated. 

Lent Term . 

Trinity Term 

Michaelmas Term 

Hilary Term 

Lent Term . 
Trinity Term 
Michaelmas Term 
Hilary Term 
Lent Term . 

Trinity Term 

Michaelmas Term 
Hilary Term 
Lent Term . 
Trinity Term . 
Michaelmas Term 
Hilary Term 
Lent Term . . 
Trinity Term , 
Michaelmas Term 
Hilary Term 
Lent Term . 

Trinity Term 

Michaelmas Term 

Hilary Term 

Lent Term . 
Trinity Term 
Michaelmas Term 
Hilary Term 
Lent Term . 
Trinity Term 

1,876 10 o 

not stated 

891 10 o 

1,039 10 o 

1,006 6 8 

403 o o 

880 6 8 

not stated 

708 o o 

1,079 13 4 

745 13 4 

1,130 6 8 

1,015 13 4 

1.057 13 4 

647 o o 

1,907 13 4 

617 6 8 

773 3 4 

594 6 8 
not stated 

;^3,97i 6 8 

A.229 13 4 

1,109 3 4 

not stated 

530 o o 

no entry book extant 

not stated 

no entry book extant 

not stated 

Number of Cases 
as given in Entry Books. 


502 (should be 506) 

^73 be 267) 

24 s 

^^^ be 554) 


, (should' 

^46 ije 249) 


be 329) ,3^1 or 

1545 or 










(not added 1 

up in book) I- 1443 

(not added 
up in 




(not added 
up in 

book) I 




(not added >-i483 
up in book) | 

^ (not added 
^ up in book) 




It thus appears that in 1638 and 1639 — the only years for 
which complete information exists — the fines amounted to 
;^3,97i 6^. 8d. and ;^4,229 135-. 4d. respectively. The average 
number of cases heard annually for the years 1633 to 1640 
inclusive is 1,521. These figures may be compared with a 
list in the Bridgewater MSS., giving the number of cases from 
the four English shires from October ist, 1608, to March 15th, 
161 1 — t'.e. two years and a half.^ The total for October ist, 1608, 
to October ist, 1609, is 1,350, and for October ist, 1609, to 
October ist, 1610, 3,386 ; while for the half year, October, 1610, 
to March 15th, i6ij, it was 1,755. ^^ ^^^ been found on adding 
up the cases from the various counties for four terms (Trinity, 

1632, and Hilary, Lent, and Trinity, 1633) that the percentage 
from the four counties is 41 per cent., 37 per cent., 41 per cent. 
and 43 per cent., respectively — i.e. on an average 40 per cent. 
If this result can be fairly applied to the year 1609-10, the 
total number of suits (from all counties) in that year would be 
as high as 8,465, six times that in 1633 to 1640. Or, putting 
the matter in another way, the average number of suits from all 
counties in 1633 to 1640 was less than half that from the four 
counties only in 1609-10, which shows how rapidly the Court had 
declined, in spite of all the efforts made to strengthen^it. 

3. Nature of the Suits. — The matters before the Court were 
still of a varied character, but a large proportion of the suits 
were for debt, 67 out of a total of 267 in the Hilary Term of 

1633, and 71 out of 245 in the Lent Term of the same year. 
The following is the list of cases for Hilary Term, 1633 : 

Debt . 


Wrongful imprisonment 

. 6 

Affrays . 



• 4 

Equity . 




Interruption . 


Arrears of rent 




Assault . 


Breach of order or injunction 


Incontinency . 






Not saving harmless 


Rescue . 


Detaining goods 





„ evidences, 





Bridgewater MSS., Welsh Council Papers, 22. 


Unlawful Assembly 
Bond . 
Combination . 
Forgery . 
Not repairing a mill 

„ bridge 
Stopping a watercourse 
Killing deer, etc. . 

Forfeiture of a bond 
Legacy . 
Indirect practice 
Not sealing a bond 

„ „ „ specialty 

Stay of action 

The list for the Lent Term, 1633, is of much the same 
character, including a case of embezzling records, one of unlawful 
maintenance, and one of forcible entry. 

Several notes occur of cases being referred to the common 
law — e.g. twelve in Hilary Term, 1633. The name of the queen's 
Attorney in the Marches, Sampson Eure, appears very frequently, 
as often as nineteen times in the entry book for Lent Term, 
1634. The number of cases heard daily was often twenty or 
more. The fines imposed were frequently of small amount — 
e.g. ds. Sd. ; for more serious offences the penalty was twenty 
nobles, or even, in the case of riot or affray, as much as ;2^io 
or j£i5, with costs ; killing a deer was punished more heavily 
than affray — viz. by a fine of ;!^io costs and lo^'. damages. 

The entry books are certainly of interest, though the reader 
is tempted to regret that the information they yield is not of 
an earlier date, when the Court was in full vigour.^ During 
the Earl of Bridgewater's Presidency an attempt was clearly 
made to increase the dignity of the Council in the Marches. 
This may perhaps be due to the fact that the parallel jurisdiction 
in the North was exercised by a Lord President as vigorous 
and determined as Wentworth. In July, 1631, he and the 
Earl of Bridgewater proposed that no grant of a place or fine in 

' In the Bridgewater MSS., Ludlow Castle Papers, 65, is a reference 
to the sending up of the entry books from Ludlow to London — vis. " In 
the Book of Cases sent herew'th your Lo'p will find a great number more 
then were formerly sent ; the fault is in the clerk, that enters soe many 
for th' end of the Terme, w'ch hee ought not to doe ; yet though soe many 
were enter'd for hearing, aboue a hundred of them were not proceeded in, 
and in w'ch state stand moste of the suites now depending in the Courte." 


the Courts under their respective Presidencies should pass the signet 
without their receiving notice ; this was carried and notified by 
the king to Secretaries Dorchester and Coke.^ Another indication 
to the same efifect is the great increase in the membership of the 
Council as set forth in the Earl of Bridgewater's Instructions 
dated May 12th, 1633. The list includes more than eighty-four 
names, among them being twenty-four peers, eleven bishops, and 
several justices.^ Incidental notices in the State Papers show 
a desire on the part of the king and Privy Council to uphold 
the authority of the Council of the Marches as standing or 
falling with that of the Star Chamber.^ 

The Lord President appears prominently from 1635 onwards 
as responsible for the levy of ship-money in Wales and the 
Border counties. Numerous notices occur in the Council 
Registers for these years of complaints of over-assessment and 
of reluctance to pay promptly. The sheriffs' letters in the State 
Papers (Domestic) throw considerable light on the financial 
condition of Wales. Nearly all ask to be excused from paying 
the money in person; it was sent up in the summer with the 
drovers, who were the only persons travelling regularly between 
Wales and London. Several of the Welsh counties — e.g. Car- 
marthen — depended entirely on the sale of sheep and cattle in 
summer, and money was hard to get at any other time. Very 
little gold was in circulation ; the quota for Denbighshire levied 
in 1626 (nearly ;j^i,2oo) was collected entirely in silver, and 
could not possibly be exchanged there for gold. On the whole, 
the collection for the tax before the decision in Hampden's 
case was, all things considered, satisfactory from the point of 
view of the Government ; afterwards matters were very different, 
and complaints and excuses came from all sides.* 

' S.P.D., Car. I., Vol. CXCVII. 14 (July 21st, 1631): cf. Ibid., Vol. 
CCCXVIII. 32, I., Vol. CCCCLVI. 67. 

^ In the Instructions to Lord Zouch the number of Councillors was 46. 

» E.g. S.P.D., Car. I., Vol. CCLXXX. 81, and Vol. CCLXXIV. 8. 

* Council Register, April 17th, 1635, November 27th, 1636, February 24th, 
1637, and August 27th, 1637. S.P.D., Car. I., Vol. CCCLXXXI. 70, and 
Vol. CCCCXII. 28 (1638-9) : cf. Phillips, Civil War in Wales, pp. 70-8. 


About the year 1637 a controversy respecting jurisdiction arose 
between the Court of the Marches and the Prerogative Court 
of Canterbury. The immediate cause was the case of Vaughan 
V. Vaughan, out of which arose a general question whether the 
Court of the Marches was competent to deal with legacies and 
other matters in which the Ecclesiastical Courts exercised juris- 
diction. The Court of King's Bench issued a prohibition into 
the Marches of Wales, on the ground that the case did not 
properly lie within this Court's jurisdiction. A vigorous agitation 
was carried on, till at last the king took the matter into his 
own hands and gave command to the Lord President for respiting 
all further proceedings before the Court of the Marches.^ 

More storms awaited the Court than mere quarrels over 
jurisdiction. In November, 1640, the Long Parliament met, with 
a firm resolve to redress the grievances that had accumulated 
since the dissolution of 1629.- Prominent among these was 
the jurisdiction exercised by the Star Chamber and other extra- 
ordinary Courts. On December 3rd, 1640, a committee was 
appointed to consider the jurisdiction of the High Commission 
Court of Canterbury and York and of the Star Chamber. 
Within a few weeks after the meeting of Parliament it was 
declared that all who had concurred in certain sentences by 
the Star Chamber were criminal and to be proceeded against.^ 
Petitions were frequently presented to Parliament by those who 
had suffered heavy sentences in that Court, while all persons im- 
prisoned for sedition were set at liberty, that they might prosecute 
their appeals to Parliament. The unpopularity of the Court 
was shown in a striking manner by the demonstrations of joy, 
mingled with indignation, when Prynne, Bastwick, and Burton 
returned to London from their island prisons.* It would seem 

' Bridgewater MSS., Welsh Council Papers, 37-9, 46. 

- In 1640 the Grand Jury of Worcestershire made a long complaint 
against the Court of the Marches, which was given to the M.P.'s for the 
county, that it might be brought before Parliament. The text is given on 
pp. 684-6 of the Worcestershire County Records (Quarter Sessions Rolls, 
Part II.). 

* Clarendon History, ed. 1888, Vol. III., pp. 229, 239. 

* Ibid., p. 269. 


that at first the regulation, rather than the abolition, of the 
Star Chamber was intended. On the suggestion, however, that 
a jurisdiction so obnoxious should be abolished outright, the 
original Bill was altered, and was reported in its amended form 
by Mr. Prideaux on May 31st, 1641.^ Amendments were twice 
read, and the Bill was ordered to be engrossed.^ On June 8th 
it was read a third time and passed ; next day it was committed 
to Hampden to be carried up to the I>ords.' 

The Star Chamber Bill and that for abolishing the High 
Commission Court were discussed together by the Lords ; they 
agreed to the latter, but not to the former, wishing only a 
limitation of the jurisdiction. Several conferences on the subject 
took place between the two Houses, and it was not till July 5th, 
1 64 1, that both the Bills received the royal assent.^ The 
abolition of the Star Chamber was grounded on various statutes, 
from Magna Carta downwards, upholding processes at common 
law; on the exercise of powers not warranted by the Act of 
1487, and on the burdensome and arbitrary character of the 
Court. The like jurisdiction in the following Courts was abolished 
at the same time : The Court before the President and Council 
in the Marches of Wales ; the Court before the President and 
Council estabhshed in the northern parts; the Court of the 
Duchy of Lancaster ; the Court in the Exchequer of the County 
Palatine of Chester. Stringent provisions were added against 
the setting up again of any of the abolished jurisdictions.^ 

Meanwhile, a special committee had been appointed on 

' Verney's Notes on the Long Parliament (Camden Societ}'), pp. lOO-l. 

' Journals of the House of Commons, II. 162. 

■"Ibid., II. 171. 

^ For the detailed history of the Act see " The Diurnall Occurrences or 
Dayly Proceedings of both Houses in this Great and Happy Parliament " 
(November 3rd, 1 640, to November 3rd, 1641), under the following dates : 
December 5th, 1640, January I2th, May 15th and 31st, June 9th, June 14th, 
June 2ist, 25th, 28th, 29th, July 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 1641 : cf. Lord Andever's 
speech concerning the Star Chamber (March, 1641); in Speeches and 
Passages of this Great and Happy Parliament (London, 1641) ; also Journals 
of the House of Lords and the House of Commons, 1640- 1 passim. 

'■' 16 Car. I., c. 10. 


Wednesday, December 23rd, 1640, to consider the jurisdiction 
of the Court of York and the Court of the Council of the 
Marches. Of this committee Hyde was chairman,^ and brief 
minutes of its meetings, or rather its adjournments, are extant 
among the Clarendon Papers in the Bodleian. The members 
were fifteen in number, in addition to the knights and burgesses 
for the counties of York, Northumberland, Cumberland, 
Westmoreland ; the burgesses of Berwick and Newcastle ; the 
knights and burgesses of the thirteen counties of the Principality 
of Wales and of the four shires, the Marches of Wales, and 
•all the lawyers of the House. ^ They were empowered to 
consider : (i) the jurisdiction of the two Courts and how far 
the thirteen shires of Wales were subject to the jurisdiction of 
the Court of the Marches ; and (2) the original foundation and 
institution of the Courts and their several instructions. They 
had power to send for parties, witnesses, papers, books, and 
records, or anything else that might conduce to the business 
in hand, and were to report their conclusions to the House. 
The first meeting was fixed for Thursday week, December 31st, 
at two o'clock in the Court of Wards. No record of a meeting 
occurs on that date, but there are notices of adjournment on 
March 6th, March 8th, and March 13th; on the last-named 
date it was arranged that the counsel for the thirteen counties 
should attend on the Thursday following. On March i6th, i8th, 
and 19th, and on June 4th there were more adjournments. 
Under date June 28th are some fragmentary notes headed 
" Mr. Ball," evidently arguments in favour of the jurisdiction of 
the Court of the Marches.' The gist is that the Court is both 
legal and useful ; that the district within its jurisdiction is subject 
to disorders, forcible entries, and so forth ; that the Justices 
in the Great Sessions cannot determine matters of equity ; that 
concurrent jurisdictions in law are not useless ; that the Court 
is not burthensome ; and that its process may be reformed. 
The last entry is on June 19th, 1641 : 

' Clarendon's Life, ed. 1759, folio, pp. 39-40. 
^ Clarendon Papers, No. 1475, f. i. 
' Ibid., 1538. 


" Resolved upon the questyon 

" I. The iurisdiction of the Courte of the President and Counsell 
of the Marches of Wales as it is now exercised is a 
grievance to the subjects of those partes. 

"2. That the Courte of y® President and Counsell of the Marches 
of Wales is uselesse to the Subiects of the 13 Countyes 
and fitt to be taken away by Bill." 

The general drift of the proceedings against the two Courts 
is described in Clarendon's Life ^ : " He was Chairman ... in that 
Committee which was against the Court of York, which was 
prosecuted with great passion, and took up many weeks' Debate : 
In that which concerned the Jurisdiction of the Lord President 
and Council of the Marches of Wales, which likewise held a long 
time, and was prosecuted with great Bitterness and Animosity : In 
which the Inhabitants of the four neighbour counties of Salop, 
Worcester, Hereford and Gloucester and consequently the Knights 
and Burgesses which served for the same were passionately 
concerned to absolve themselves from the burthen of that Juris- 
diction ; and all the Officers of that Court and Council, whereof 
some were very great men and held Offices of great value, 
laboured with equal Passion and Concernment, to support and 
maintain what was in Practice and Possession ; and their Friends 
appeared accordingly." 

Full details as to the proceedings of the above committee and 
the agitation against the Court of the Marches are preserved in 
the Welsh Council Papers among the Bridgewater MSS. On 
March 20th, 1641, a warrant was issued by the committee to 
the keeper of the Council records, at Ludlow Castle, requiring 
him to permit the bearer or bearers to search the records and 
take notes and copies without fee. The bearers were four — two 
barristers, the Under-Sheriff of Herefordshire, and an attorney 
in the King's Bench ; they continued their search between 
March 30th and April ist.^ A second search was made in 
May, as related in a letter from Thomas Crumpe, the Clerk 
Examiner of the Court. A certain Mr. Kinaston was empowered 

' Clarendon's Life, ed. 1759, pp. 39-40. 

^ Bridgewater MSS., Welsh Council Papers, 71, 32. 


by a warrant (signed by Mr. Edward Hyde) to search the records. 
Kinaston and his colleague were paid every day for their "paines 
and travell " at the cost of over forty persons, who had subscribed 
for the purpose. The strength of the opposition to the Court 
is shown by a letter from E. Martyn to the Earl of Bridgewater 
in September, 1641 : "the opposers therof are daily in these 
parts consulting and collecting moneyes to effecte their ends, 
when some here who are neerly concern'd in their particular 
interest in y® Courte, will not joyne in y^ like waye to make 
defence w*''^ maye be to their owne advantage." 

All through 1641 the position of the Court was most pre- 
carious : several affidavits are extant of rescues and misdemeanours 
committed during the execution of process. On one occasion 
two special bailiffs, who vainly tried (August 17th, 1641) to arrest 
one Robert Ruffe and bring him before the Court at Ludlow, 
were assaulted by a crowd of forty persons, men and women, 
armed with staves, reaping-hooks, and other weapons. One of 
the bailiffs " was stricken with a stone on his Backe, and was 
sore hurt and bruised thereby," and " with the violence of the 
saide Blowe was astonied and amazed." ^ Orders of the Court 
were neglected, not in the four shires only, but in the Principality 
as well, and the Councillors wrote to the Lord President that un- 
less the king intervened their authority would disappear entirely.* 

The Bill abolishing the Star Chamber by no means did away 
with the Court of the Marches entirely : as a civil Court it 
continued till the outbreak of the war, and as such it was 
revived at the Restoration. But the blow struck by the Act of 
July, 1641, was followed up by a vote of the House of Commons 
that the Court's jurisdiction in the four shires was illegal and 
unwarranted. On August 6th a committee was formed for the 
" Bill of exemption of the Four Shires " ; it consisted of twenty- 
three peers, spiritual and temporal, and Mr. Baron Henden and 
Mr. F. Mallett were to attend on them. They were to meet and 
hear counsel on August 24th, but nothing appears to have been 
settled.^ Early in September Richard Heylyn, the Earl of 

' Bridgewater MSS., Welsh Council Papers, 67. 
- Ibid., 28. = Ibid., 56. 


Bridgewater's chaplain, wrote to him that ;z^ioo was to be ex- 
pended by the four counties on securing their exemption, and 
that only the Shropshire quota remained unpaid.^ Thomas 
Milward, writing to the earl about a week later, reported that 
there was a talk of repealing the statute of 34 H. VIII., which 
confirmed the Council's jurisdiction. He adds that " many 
disorderly persons (presuming of impunitie) doe daylie com'itt 
outrages in theise partes, not onely abroade uppon y^ service of 
y^ proces of this Court, but also about y* celebracion of divine 
service and that in the Church in the time of prayer, w''^ I hope 
the Court of Parliament will in due time take into consideracion."^ 
The result of the resolution, taken by members of the Council 
at Ludlow, not to meddle with the four counties and to act as 
cautiously as possible even in regard to Welsh suits,^ is seen in 
the Books of Hearing for Michaelmas Term, 1641, and Trinity 
Term, 1642,* the last terms for which these books are extant. 
During the Michaelmas Teriji, which lasted from November 12th 
to December 2nd, the total number of cases is only 62 as against 
441 in the corresponding term of 1640. Many pages in the 
book are left blank, and the amount of fines levied is not stated. 
In the Trinity Term of 1642 (June 13th, to 27th) the number of 
suits was 69 as against 453 in the corresponding term of 1640 : 
here again the fines are omitted. It may be of interest to state 
the nature of these 69 cases and the counties in which they 

Trinity Term, 1642. 

Nature of suit. 


Breach of order 

No. of 

. 23 

. 10 

Counties. ^a^f 
Anglesey . . . . i 
Brecon 15 

Equity . 

Detaining goods . 
Interruption . 

. 9 
. 6 

• 5 

• 3 

Cardigan . . . .10 
Carmarthen .... 2 
Carnarvon .... 3 
Denbigh .... 7 

Carried forward 56 

Carried forward 38 

• Bridgewater MSS. 
2 Ibtd., 62. 

Welsh Council Papers, 59. ^ Ibid., 74. 

* See above. 


Nature of suit. 

No. of 


No. of 



Brought forward 


Brought forward 

. 38 

Not saving harmless 



. 4 

Rent .... 






. 6 

Fees and disbursements 

Montgomery . 

. 6 

Forfeiture of bond . 


• 3 

Not performing an agreement 

Radnor . 

. 8 

Not satisfying a recovery 


Salop (q), Brecon (d) ^ 


Relief .... 

Wig. (q), Mont, (d) 


Stay of action 



Title .... 




These figures show clearly that the great bulk of the business 
of the Court had arisen within the Border counties. 

During the spring of 1642 an attempt was made to overthrow 
the Court entirely, as useless and injurious not only to the 
inhabitants of the four counties, but even to those of the 
Principality. The light in which the jurisdiction was now re- 
garded may be seen from "The Grievances of His Majesties 
Subjects residing within the Principality of Wales in respect of 
the Court of the Council of the Marches of Wales." 2 The 
articles deal with the grievances of the Welsh by being subject 
to a two-fold jurisdiction, being often summoned by writs to 
appear in Ludlow and London on the same day ; also with the 
unwarrantable extension of the Court's jurisdiction at the expense 
of the Common Law Courts. On April 19th, 1642, the Earl of 
Bridgewater wrote to Mr. Richard Lloyd that the matter of the 
Council seemed to be urgent and to demand the presence of 
some one acquainted with its procedure. He himself was a 
prisoner to his house, Lord Goring was occupied elsewhere, and 
there was a danger "lest there might be alierius silentiuvi in 

' I.e. plaintiff and defendant. 

- A broadsheet in the volume Declarations, Letters, etc., 1626-89 (Brit. 
Mus. 190, g. 13,236). The date is given in the catalogue as 1665 (?), but the 
words in clause 14 as to the abolition of the Star Chamber point rather to 
the autumn of 1641 or the spring of 1642. 


the proceedinge." ^ He begs Lloyd to take the matter into his 
serious consideration, and concludes with the words, '■'■ Liberaui 
animam tneam and I can say no more." Lloyd replied that he 
was obliged to be on circuit, and that the matter of the Court 
could not come up for discussion within six months at least, 
"the matters of highest, most publick and generall Concerne- 
ment being in soe serious agitation as nowe they are."^ 

Among the Bridgewater Papers is an interesting document 
headed, "Provisions for a Court to be established in Wales, etc., 
1 64 1. "3 It is a scheme for establishing a Court of Law at 
Ludlow to take the place of the Court of the Council of the 
Marches, and to supplement the deficiencies of the Court of 
Great Sessions, which meets only twice a year with an inadequate 
number of judges. The writer urges that thereby the four 
counties will be benefited by having cases decided at home, 
while the Welsh would rather forego their legal rights than travel 
to London, "beinge for want of being able to speake English 
disheartened to travell farr, more then the Northern men." The 
proposed Court would be free from all the objections raised 
against the Court of the Marches as arbitrary and not conform- 
able to old law and the Great Charter, and it would save Wales 
and the Marches from relapsing into disorder. It would also 
prevent the oppression of the poor. "Wales," says the writer, 
" consists for the most parte of greate Lordships which heretofore 
were Lordships Marchers, many parishes which enioyed Lardge 
ffranchises and iura regalia, the Characters of which remain in 
Claymes of soe great Hberties that it is an occasion and Culler 
of oppressinge the poorer sorte whose Complaints must be heard 
and that when they are oppressed by the Officers of the Llords 
the poorer sorte will suffer that oppression that will ruyne them." 

This document is accompanied by one of like tenor entitled 
the "Concerments of Honor and advantage to the Kinge and 
Prince by this forme of Government." The passage of most 
interest deals with the need of providing more speedy justice 
than is attainable at Westminster. No Chancery suit, it is said, 

' Welsh Council Papers, 19. - Ibid., 16; cf. 20. 

3 Ibid., 63. 


could be brought to hearing within two years, and the other Courts 
were no speedier. Matters would be even worse now that the 
Courts of Star Chamber and High Commission and the Council of 
the North were abolished, while the Court of Requests would 
soon be reduced in the extent of its jurisdiction. All men would 
bring their suits to Westminster, with the result of great delay 
and expense and the excessive increase of the City of London. 
" It is a Consideracion not to be neglected to prevent the growth 
of the Cittye of London, w'^'^ is growne monstrous in numbers 
of People and hard to be governed. Which must be reformed 
by preventinge of the Concourse of people, one goode meanes 
whereof is the distribucion of Courts of Justice into seuerall 
partes." Experience in Wales had shown how much the 
neighbourhood of a Court of Justice can do towards the 
"reducing and civilizing" of a people, "and howe apt Wales 
would be to fall into their auntient wonted Rapines is apparant 
to those that knowe the extreame povertye of the Common people, 
the extreame oppression of the Gentrye, and how little the pre- 
sence of two Justices that be practisers of Lawe at Westm'r will 
avayle, to whom the Gentrye can make their owne accesse and 
applicacion and where they will meete with haughtie spiritts 
and subtile witts." The only objection to the continuance 
of the Court is that raised by the gentlemen and great men 
who are "eclipsed in their firmament"; but this is really an 
argument for the Court, for "an Emphaticall trueth it wilbe 
found out to be : That by how much the more the Gentry 
dislike y° neighbourhood of a Courte of Justice, by soe much 
the more it will behoove the Prince and Common People re- 
spectively to assert it." 

Within a few months the Civil War broke out, and the Court 
of the Marches fell into abeyance. The Lord President was 
joint Commissioner of Array for Flintshire, Denbighshire, and 
Merionethshire in May, 1643 ; but soon afterwards he withdrew 
to his house at Ashridge, Hertfordshire, where he died on 
December 4th, 1649. 



At the Restoration the Court of the Council of the Marches was 
revived with respect to its civil jurisdiction, which was held to be 
untouched by the Star Chamber Act of 1641. The revival seems 
to have been due partly to the need of lucrative offices wherewith 
to reward loyal adherents to the king during the late wars. But 
besides this, there was a desire for the re-establishment of a 
Court near Wales, in which small suits might be settled, so as 
to make the long and expensive journey to London unnecessary. 
A statement of the case for the Court is given by Sir R. Lloyd 
in his " Reasons far settling y^ Court and Coun" in Wales," 
June, 1 66 1. After reviewing its history and the various attempts 
to secure exemption from its jurisdiction, he points out the 
advantages it offered to both king and people. It secured " an 
entire command of seventeen Counties ready uppon all occasions 
as the last king found in the beginning of the late warrs." It 
furnished a place of residence for the Prince of Wales when 
absent from the king's Court ; it was " a great settlement of 
the peace of those Counties where different jurisdictions and 
different languages border," and if it were permanently abolished 
failure of justice would result.^ About the same time petitions 
in favour of the Court were sent up from the four Border counties, 
bearing in all nearly three thousand signatures. Several of the 
petitioners were evidently illiterate persons, as is shown by their 
" marks " ; but among those who signed were the Mayor of 

' S.P.D., Car. II., Vol. XXXIX., No. 39. 


Evesham, the Bailiff of Bewdley, Tho. Washbourne, Doctor of 
Divinity, and a number of clerks. The text of the petition was 
as follows : 

"To THE King's most Excellent Ma"^ 

" The humble Petition of your Ma" loyall and ffaithfuU 
subiectes of the Marches of Wales and more especially of the 
County, City, and County of the City of Gloucester, whose names 
are hereunto subscribed and in the severall Schedules hereunto 
annexed mentioned. 

" Most humbly shewinge unto your Royall Maiesty That yo" 
Petitioners beinge sensible of the great want of yo' Ma**^^ Court 
of the Councell in the Marches of Wales, beinge established by 
your Ma*'®® royall Ancestors with the advise of their privy 
Counsell and alsoe by severall acts of Parliament, not onely for the 
quiet and peaceable goverment of the Principality of Wales and 
Marches of the same, but alsoe for the good and ease of Your 
People of the same parts and that They should not be oppressed 
nor inforced to appeare at the Courts at Westminster upon ordinary 
Causes (except for Trialls of Titles of Land). In w'ch your 
Ma*" said Court of the Marches of Wales your Petitioners had 
speedy Justice at very easy Charges in Comparison of the Courts 
at Westminster and were not Compelled to travaile farre from 
home and might then peaceably till their Land and use their 
good husbandry, and follow their other occasions, the said Court 
of the Marches of Wales beinge much nearer to them than Those 
at Westm'. 

" And yo' Petitioners findinge That the Charges of the Courts at 
Westminster are soe great That Three Causes (at the least) haue 
beene heard and Judicially determined in That Court of the 
Marches of Wales at farre lesse Charge then One Cause can be 
tryed in any of the Courts at Westminster. 

" Your Petitioners therefore most humbly beseech yo"" Maiesty 
to take the Premisses into your royall Consideration, And that the 
said Court in the Marches of Wales may be rs-estabUshed and 


Continued as formerly It hath beene for the good of your 
Mat^ Subiects and People inhabitinge Those parts, 

" And yo'' Petitioners will ever pray for yo'' Maiesties longe, 
happy and prosperous Raigne over Them and Allother yo'^ 
Mat's Subiects." 

This petition is signed by eighty-six persons ; another copy is 
signed by ninety-one. From Worcester city and county came 683 
signatures, from Shropshire 434, and from Hereford city and 
county 1,649. The total number of signatures is thus 2,943.^ 

The petitions were promoted by one Thomas Harurn and 
his friend Richard Phillips, as is shown by the following letter : 

*' Sonne Phillips, 

"Your ffortnights limittation hath obstructed a larger 
Returne of Subscriptions then the Petitions inclosed (w'ch are but 
Two) containe. I haue severall others abroad and expect their 
Returne w'ch I send unto you as They come in. Take these 
the while de bene esse. And yf longer time may be given and 
yf yt be required, send me word. That I may gett subscriptions 
accordingly : ffor I am Confident (had I but longer time) I 
could procure Two Thousand hands more. The Countrey doth 
soe generally desire the reestablishment of The Court in the 
Marches of Wales. Those few subscriptions are from Inhabitants 
in or not farr from the City of Gloucester, Let me heare from 
you by the next Post, what is further to be done. And soe with 
my hearty well wishes for good successe in the proceedinges, 
with my respective salutes to yo'r selfe, I rest and am 

" Yo'r ffather and Constant Lo : ffriend 

" Tho. Harurn. 

" Colledge Greene in 
Glouc' City, Munday 

7" Clocke nocte 17 Junii " Reed. 19 Junii 61 

1 661. I hor. p. raer. 

pd Post I^ 6"i." 

» S.P.D., Car. II., Vol. XXXIX.. Nos. 39-47. The totals given in the 
MS. are not always correct; once 153 is given instead of 147. 


Addressed — 

" To his very lovinge ffriend Mr. Richard Phillips 
at his Chamber at the Bull-head neare St. Dunstans 
Church in ffleet-street 

" London. 
" These 

" Present." ^ 

Even during 1660 grants of offices in the Court were promised 
or actually made. Before Charles left Breda, he received from 
John Butts, of the Inner Temple, a petition for the office of 
examiner in consideration of services rendered during the late 
wars. He had served the late and present king ever since 
Charles I.'s first journey to the North, and had raised a troop 
of horse and foot at his own cost. Through this, and through 
taking part in the second Civil War (at Colchester), he had been 
debarred from practising as a lawyer, and had also lost a con- 
siderable office in Wales and the Marches.^ The reply, signed 
by Secretary Nicholas, is that the king cannot confer the desired 
office at present, but will do so when the Court is re-established. 
The actual grant was not long delayed — only till September, 

In January, 1661, however, a certain John Bissell petitioned 
for the same office, on the plea that he had suffered great 
loss during the war, twenty-six houses belonging to him at 
Worcester having been burnt down.^ Upon this, Mr. Butts 
sent up a statement of his own merits and losses, in great resent- 
ment at his rival's attempt " to take the bread out of his mouth." ^ 
He details how he attended the late king at York, led a troop 
of foot from Glamorganshire into Bristol, lost his books and 
goods in the Temple and his office as Auditor of the Signet in 
the Marches of Wales. It does not appear whether Bissell was 
successful in his attempt. 

' S.P.D., Car. II., Vol. XXXVII., No. 69. 
2 Ibid., Vol. CCXX., Nos. 112, 113 (1660). 
^ Ibid., Vol. XVI., p. 279, No. 97. 
* Ibid., Vol. XXIX., p. 495, No. 88, 
5 Ibid., No. 89, II. 


In August, 1660, John Daulbin received a grant of the office 
of " Clerk and Receiver of Fines adjudged and taxed before the 
President of the Council in the Principality and Marches of 
Wales," with a fee of ;^^o per annum.^ In January, 166 1, the 
warrant was issued for a grant to Richard, Lord Vaughan, Earl 
of Carbery, of the office of President of the Council in the 
Principality and Marches of Wales.^ The grant was duly made, 
and soon afterwards the earl formally requested that no grant 
of any office in the Council of the Marches of Wales might pass 
without his privity. In September, 1661, a proclamation was 
issued declaring that the President and Council established and 
continued in the Principality and Marches of Wales had full 
power to determine causes and complaints there, and that its 
orders were to be implicitly obeyed.^ 

During the past year instructions for the Lord President 
and Council had been prepared ; they were examined by the 
Attorney-General Palmer on February nth, and signed by the 
king on September 9th, 1661.^ In the same month a warrant 
was issued to the receivers of North and South Wales to pay 
the Lord President ^£1,106 13^. 4^. a year for the diet of 
himself and the Council, and for " foreign expenses " from 
January 2nd, 1661.^ The Lord President was also appointed 
in this year Keeper of the Game in the Principality of Wales 
and the four Border counties, and in 1665 was made Constable 
of Ludlow Castle. An outward sign of the re-erection of the 
Court was the engraving of its seal — the size of a twenty-shilling 
piece — by Thomas Simon, the king's engraver.^ Other offices 

* S.P.D., Car. II., Vol. XI., p. 212, No. 104. 
2 Ibid., Vol. XXVIII., p. 465, Nos. 8, 9. 

= Ibid., Vol. XLV., p. 99, No. 41 (Proclamation Collection, p. 97). 

* Ibid., Vol. XLI., p. 86, No. 31. 
5 Ibid., Vol. XLI., p. 91, No. 65. 

* Ibid., Vol. XLIII., p. 121, No. 94. The seal is engraved on p. 189 
of Clive's History of Ludlow. It bears the royal arms and the legend 
side of the crown (which is surmounted by the three ostrich-plumes) are 
the initials C.R. The remaining legends are : " Honi soit qui mal y pense" 
and " Concilium Marchiar." On p. 149 Clive gives an engraving of the 
Sword of State of the Lords President from the original, which is in the 


granted about this time were those of Clerk of the Billets, 
Secretary to the Council, Remembrancer, Wardrobe Keeper, 
Solicitor, Receiver of Answers, Registrations, Rejoinders, etc., and 
Serjeant-at-arms.^ New members were also appointed — e.g. Sir 
Gilbert Cornewall, Robert Charlton of Whitton, Robert Milward 
(Justice of the Sessions for cos. Carnarvon, Merioneth, and 
Anglesey), John Walcott of Walcott, and Robert Roberts. ^ 

On February 20th, 1661, it was ordered that the Earl of 
Carbery and such gentlemen as were concerned in behalf of 
the four counties of Worcester, Gloucester, Hereford, and Salop, 
with their counsel if they pleased, should attend at the Council 
Board on February 22nd, to settle the matter of the said 
Presidency. The Lord Chief Justices of the King's Bench, 
Common Pleas, and Exchequer, with His Majesty's Counsel 
learned in the law, were desired to contribute their assistance at 
the same time. No record of a meeting appears under the date 
February 22nd; and the matter did not come up till July loth, 
when that day week was appointed for discussing the jurisdiction. 
The Lord President, the three Chief Justices, the Attorney- and 
Solicitor-General and Serjeants-at-Law were to attend and uphold 
the Council's jurisdiction ; those who opposed it were likewise 
to attend. It does not appear from the Council Register that 
this meeting ever took place. But on August 24th, 1661, it was 
ordered that the instructions relating to the re-establishment of 
the " Court of the presidency of Wales " should be prepared by 
the committee appointed thereunto, and that they should be 
drawn up according to the words of the Statute of the thirty- 
fourth year of Henry VIH. — viz. for Wales and the Marches.^ 

The new Lord President had served in the Civil War as 
Lieutenant-General of the royal army in the counties of 

possession of the Earl of Powis, hereditary Governor of Ludlow Castle. 
Models of the sword and seal are in the Ludlow Museum. 

' S.P.D., Car, II., Vol. XXIX., p. 496, No. 92; Vol. XLIV.,p. 163, No. 140, 
and p. 164, No. 141 ; Vol. LVIIL, p. 462, No. 56 ; Vol. LXIV., p. 586, No. 42 ; 
VoL LXVIL, p. 20, No. 88; and Vol. XL., p. 66, No. 61. 

- Ibid., Vol. XLIIL, p. 370, No. 46, and p. 436, No. 45 ; Vol. LVL, p. 408, 
No. 61 ; and Vol. LXXII., p. 118, No. 21. 

' Council Register (under dates above-mentioned). 


Carmarthen, Pembroke, and Cardigan, but had resigned his 
command on being driven out of Pembrokeshire by Major 
General Langharne in March, 1644. He was threatened with 
impeachment, and assessed as a delinquent, but escaped seques- 
tration through his intimate relations with Essex and other 
Parliamentary generals. During the Second Civil War he sided 
with the Parliament. He gained the favour of Cromwell, and 
received from him a present of stags for his park at Golden 
Grove. Carbery was in no great repute with the Royalists ; his 
career is touched upon in a pungent document (date about 1661) 
entitled,^ "A true character of the Deportment for these 18 
years last past of the principal Gentry within the Counties of 
Carmarthen, Pembroke and Cardigan in South Wales." The 
writer remarks that although the troops under his command far 
outnumbered those of his opponents, he made no resistance, 
"some attributing it to a suspected naturall cowardize, others to 
a designe to be overcome." However this may be, Carbery 
deserves the gratitude of posterity for the shelter he gave during 
many years to Jeremy Taylor, his chaplain, at Golden Grove in 

' This is printed in the Cambrian Register, Vol. I., p. 164, et seqq. A few 
extracts may serve to show the intense indignation with which the Royalists 
regarded those who had made any compromise with the other side — e.g. 
Roger Lort is described as being " of any principle or religion to acquire 
wealth ; he fortified and defended his house against the parliament's sea- 
men ; but in preservation of no cause but his own. Hugh Peters was his 
welcome guest as long as Hugh was welcomed by Cromwell. Hugh had 
no sooner lost the one than the other." Sir Richard Price was "a young 
gentleman not of full age the tyme that the discovery of principles was 
most dangerous]; and it'is conceived he hath not as yet any that he is too 
much obliged unto. He ranne through several publique offices under all 
the governments that have been from 1652 to this time ; but probably more 
by the direction of his father-in-law Mr. Bulstrode Whitlocke, then by 
his own desires." John Vaughan is " one that will upon fitts talke loud 
for monarchy ; but scrupulous to wet his finger to advance it." Henry 
Vaughan is characterised as " anything for money, a proselyte and favorite 
to all the changes of times, a sherif for his late Majesty, afterwards for 
Cromwell, justice of peace under each, tyrant in power, mischievous by 
deceit : his motto qui nescit dissimulare nescit vivcre." Sampson Lort had 
" nothing of his first namesake but the Jawes, and hath with that destroyed 
as many ministers as the other Philistines, both for the same ends ; hates 
the cliurch, hugges the profits of it." 


Carmarthenshire. Here Taylor wrote the " Great Exemplar," 
the "Holy Living" and "Holy Dying," and the "Manual of 
Devotions," to which, as a compliment to his patron, he gave 
the title of Golden Grove. Carbery also befriended Samuel 
Butler, the satirist, who wrote the first part of Hudibras when 
secretary and steward at Ludlow Castle. It is a curious coin- 
cidence that the patron of Butler, the anti-Puritan poet, should 
be also the husband of Lady Alice Egerton, the pupil of Milton's 
friend Henry Lawes. 

Carbery seems to have paid close attention to the business of 
the Court, such as it was, and in some matters he successfully 
asserted its jurisdiction over even the four English shires.^ 
One of his first duties as Lord President was the repair of 
Ludlow Castle, which had suffered severely during the Civil 
War. In November, i66r, a warrant was issued to pay him 
;!^2,ooo on account for repairs and furniture, and in June, 1662, 
another for ;/^2,5oo.^ It would appear that considerable sums 
in addition to the above were allotted for the same purpose. A 
petition sent up to Lord Arlington by Thomas Hunton, Wardrobe 
Keeper to the Council of the Marches, complains that though 
these large sums for repairs and furniture had been received, 
the earl had put in old household stuff, neglected the repairs, 
and kept only half the soldiers paid for. It was further alleged 
that though he was allowed ;^3,ooo a year for the household, 
he did not expend ;!^4oo ; the servants were allowed only one 
meal a day, and the Court was brought into such contempt that 
whereas twenty cases daily used to be tried, only one was tried 
in five days. Other allegations in a second petition, July, 1670, 
were that the earl withheld the diet and salary of his chaplain, 
neglected to keep a steward, and had converted to his own use 
the plate and other goods provided by the king for Ludlow 
Castle.^ Both petitions were referred to certain members of 
the Council in the Marches for consideration, and in August, 1670, 
at a meeting of the Privy Council, where the earl himself was 

' Hist. MSS. Commission, 5th Report, p. 338. 

= S.P.D., Car. II., Vol. XLIV., p. 163, No. 140, and Vol. LVI., p. 402, No. S5- 

' Ibid., July, 1670 (Cal., p. 355). 


present, it was stated that he had acted in his office as a person 
of honour and integrity. The petitioners were dismissed, and the 
earl was left to prosecute them in order to right himself as 
he should think fit.^ 

The Lord President, being lieutenant of seventeen counties, 
had, as in earlier days, certain military duties to perform. As 
Constable of Ludlow Castle, he commanded the company of 
foot kept there to protect the militia money for Wales and 
certain jewels and plate.^ He was also regarded as the proper 
person to be informed of any threatened disturbances in Wales 
and the Border. Thus in March, 1664, Lord Herbert wrote that 
Ludlow and Philip Jones, the Protector's late counsellor, had 
been with twelve servants at Welshpool, had " talked knowingly " 
of Wales, and proposed to go to Ludlow town. As the Lord 
President was in London, Secretary Bennet was to be informed 
should anything important arise.^ 

With regard to the actual work done by the Court at this 
time hardly any evidence survives, but it must have been small. 
Its jurisdiction over the four counties was not allowed, as is 
seen by a statement endorsed " Marquis of Worcester's Paper " 
1672.* This shows that the Earl of Carbery consented to 
have the four counties omitted in his patent, to please the Earl 
of Clarendon, thinking they would be comprehended under the 
word " Marches." Clarendon had, it will be remembered, taken 
a leading part in the attack on the Court in 1 640-1. The Court 
at Westminster struck at the jurisdiction of the Council in the 
Marches by issuing prohibitions. 

References to the Court at this, the closing period of its exist- 
ence, are for the most part mere records of offices granted and 
disputes between their holders.^ Occasionally, however, notices 
of greater interest occur — e.g. the Earl of Carbery was directed 
to examine into a charge of misdemeanours against the ex-Mayor 

' Council Register, December loth, 1669, and August 5th, 1670. 

- S.P.D., Car. II., Vol. CXX., p. 347, No. 46, May 4th, 1665. 

3 Ibid., Vol. XCV., p. 532, No. 63, March 28th, 1664. 

* Ibid. (Vol. December, 1671, to March, 1672), p. 218 [March?], 1672. 

^ Ibid. (1670), pp. 297, 339, 367, and Council Register, March 15th, and 
April 5th, 1671. 


of Haverfordwest and other persons.^ It was also his duty 
to entertain persons of distinction visiting the Principality : for 
example, in the summer of 1669 he entertained the Duchess of 
Ormond and her retinue at Golden Grove for two or three days. 
She was then conducted by him and the chief gentry of 
Carmarthen to Brecknock, and entertained there with a hand- 
some banquet before pursuing her journey to London.^ 

The earl seems to have been far from popular; in addition 
to the complaints of malversation brought against him by 
Hunton, we find him accused of abusing his power in oppressing 
subjects, taking revenge on those who would not obey his 
arbitrary commands, placing his kinsmen in office, and obstruct- 
ing justice.^ The earl, on the other hand, regarded himself as 
badly treated, and wrote in a lamentable strain to the king, 
begging for relief, lest his family want bread.* In 1672 he was 
removed from office, partly owing to his maltreatment of his 
servants and tenants at Dryslwyn, near Golden Grove, " some 
of whom had their eares cut of, and one his tongue cut out and 
all dispossessed." ^ He is characterised by the acrimonious 
writer above quoted as " a fit person for the highest publique 
employment, if integrity and courage were not suspected to be 
often faylinge him " ; nor do the records of his Presidency belie 
this veiy damaging description, 

Carbery's successor was the Marquis of Worcester, whose 

' Council Register, Febuary 17th, 167 1. 

- S.P.D., Car. II. (October, 1668, to December, 1669), p. 410, July 14th, 

3 Ibid. (Vol. 1665-6), p. 31, No. 87, Vol. CXXXV., October 26th, 1665. 

* Ibid. (December, 1671, to May, 1672), p. 218. 

^ Hatton Correspondence, I. 70. Spurrell, Carmarthen, p. 1 18, and art. in 
Diet. Nat. Biog. In the Dovaston MS,, f. 191, b. 7, is a copy of "A remon- 
strance of the Justices in Ordinarie in the Marches of Wales to the Right 
Hon'"'^ the Lord President of the Council." The ^writer says that the Lord 
President has usurped authority over the household and made profit out 
of it, carrying the king's plate and linen off to Golden Grove, " a thing 
never heard of." Worse still, " command has been given to search the 
lodgings to see if we have any of the King's goods there, and to bring them 
away, and our servants slandered and abused, and some of them by the 
Lady s order commanded out of the house ; it is well she cannot carry the 
Castle with her." 


appointment was dated March igth, 1672. In 1682 he was 
made Duke of Beaufort, and two years later, in the summer of 
1684, he made a state journey through his Presidency. This 
"Beaufort Progress" is described at great length in a MS. 
volume written and illustrated by Thomas Dingley, or Dineley, 
one of the duke's escort at the time. It has twice been re- 
produced in facsimile, and forms an important record for Wales 
and the Border on the eve of the Revolution.^ The duke 
started from Chelsea on Monday night, July 4th, 1689, ^^^ 
reached Worcester on Wednesday. At Pershore he was met 
by Charles Earl of Worcester and the gentry of the neighbouring 
counties ; not far off were waiting the Mayor, Sheriff, Dean 
and chief citizens of Worcester, who escorted him to the Bishop's 
Palace. Next morning a festival service was held in the 
cathedral, after which his grace repaired to the town hall, 
received the freedom of the city, and was entertained with "a 
very great and noble collation." Here the writer finds his native 
language inadequate to the occasion, and falls back on Lucan 
to describe the glories of the feast, substituting for "Nilus" the 
highly unclassical " Severn." ^ 

About noon on Thursday the duke left Worcester, and near 
Ludlow was received by the High Sheriff of Shropshire, with the 
chief gentry. About a mile from the town he was awaited by 
the officers of the Presidency and by the townsfolk, who lined 
the way of approach. The writer gives the full order of the 
procession, beginning with the Quartermaster for the Progress, 
who was followed by sumpter-men and " helpers belonging to 
the stables, in livery, leading horses to supply accidents and 
defects of y^ Coach Cavalry." Then came gentlemen of the 
horse, pages, grooms and trumpeters, the last named " in 
very rich Coats, having for Badg his Grace's Cypher in Gold 

' It has twice been reproduced in facsimile, once in 1864 (for private 
circulation only) and in 1888 by the Cambrian Archaeological Association. 

- " Infudere epulas auro quod terra, quod aer 

Quod pelagus Severnque dedit ; quod luxus inani 
Ambitione furens toto quaesivit in orbe." 

— Pharsalia, X. 155-7. 


under a Ducall Crown on their backs and breasts, each w* a 
silver Trumpett with gold and silver strings and Tazzels and 
Crimson Flowr'd Damask embroidered with y* coat Armour 
of his Grace the Duke of Beaufort." Then followed the 
lieutenant-colonel of the militia foot of Wiltshire, gentlemen 
at large, yeoman of the wine cellar, the groom of the chamber, 
the cooks, the master of music, the harper, the " Mareschall 
or Farrier of y^ Progress," and the clerk of the kitchen. Be- 
hind them were more gentlemen, including the officials of the 
Court at Ludlow. These all prepared the way for the duke, 
himself "in glorious equipage," followed by the Earl of Worcester 
and the High Sheriff of Salop, with a number of loyal gentry 
from that and neighbouring counties. Then came the Duchess 
of Beaufort, the Countess of Worcester and her daughters, with 
their attendants. At this point the writer deserves to be quoted 
verbatim : 

"This splendid cavalcade attended with shouts and acclama- 
tions of the people, ringing of bells in y^ neighbouring Villages, 
various soundings of Trumpets, Beating of Drums and the 
co'tinued neighing of horses, made a very agreable confusion, 
y^ latter noyse whereof calls to mind a verse of Mantuan 

" Et procul hinnitu campus sonat omnis acuto," 
and the same author 

" tremulis hinnitibus aer 

Now his Grace and Company being arrived at Ludlow, he was 
received at y^ Gate thereof by the Bailiffs and Com'on Councill 
in their Formalities with y^ rest of y^ head of y'' Corporac'on with 
great expressions of Joy by the people, among which (during the 
time y^ Bells rang out) upon the Cross of Ludlows steeple 
pinnacle marked A {i.e, in the accompanying drawing of the 
Church) sate on {i.e. one, the name is not given) of neer 60 yeers 
of age with a Drum beating of a march which he continued from 
his Grace entry into the Town untill he came to the Castle. In 
the principall part of the Town neer y^ high Cross and Publicque 



Fountaine his Grace was presented by them with one banquet 
of Sweetmeats consisting of half a dozen Marchpanes and Wines, 
after which those that attended his Grace had a reception at 
Ludlow Castle equal to his Quality. 

" Regales epulae mensis et Bacchus in auro, 

Next day, after service in the castle chapel, the duke, " in 
his Rich Robes of Presidency," walked to the court-house, 
where, after the Chief Justice of Chester had delivered the 
charge, the rest of the forenoon was spent in hearing cases. 
After this all the company were again entertained at a 
magnificent dinner in the castle, each person striving to outdo 
the other in manifestations of loyalty to His Majesty and respect 
to his grace. The following day the duke spent at Powis 
Castle, whence the cavalcade journeyed to Welshpool, Llangollen 
and Wrexham and other towns of Wales, the Progress coming 
to an end on August 21st. 

The fall of the Court was now near at hand. In 1689 the 
Duke of Beaufort was succeeded as Lord President by Charles 
Earl of Macclesfield.^ During the spring a few notices regarding 
him occur in the State Papers — e.g. the petition of John Warren 
of Gray's Inn to be continued as Justice of the Peace for Chester, 
Flint, Denbigh and Montgomery was referred to him by the Earl 
of Shrewsbury (March 26th, 1689).^ He was directed to swear 
John Trenchard as Chief Justice and one of the king's Council 
in Ordinary for the Marches at Ludlow, and a few days later 
he was bidden to suppress meetings held by certain disaffected 
persons (April 12th and 19th, 1689).^ On May 22nd the Earl 
of Shrewsbury bade Mr. Serjeant Thompson and Mr. Serjeant 
Tremaine appear in the House of Lords to defend the cause 
of the Court of Ludlow and the Marches of Wales, in which the 
rights of the Crown were concerned.* 

' S.P.D,, William and Mary (February 13th, 1689, to April, 1690), 
March 8th, 1689. 

= Utd., March 26th, 1689. ^ j^i^^^ April I2th, 19th, 16S9. 

* Ibid., May 22nd, 1689. 


The Court was by now regarded as wholly unnecessary, and 
was abolished by statute.^ The last reference to it in the 
calendars of State Papers is the petition of a certain Charles 
Cheturn, who had lost a freehold of ;!£"2oo a year by its 
suppression, and begged for the office of Surveyor of the 
Green Wax.- 

Shortly after the abolition of the Council the Attorney-General, 
Sir George Treby, presented to the; king a report on the future 
government of Wales. He writes that as the Court is now 
abolished " by your Majesties' great grace and favour, and to 
your subjects' great satisfaction there," the office of President 
is wholly useless. It is of course necessary to have a lieutenant 
for the militia, one for North Wales and one for South, and he 
suggests five names : Lord Newport, the Earl of Bridgewater, 
Lord Willoughby, the Earl of Pembroke, and Lord Carbery. 
The duties once performed by the Lord President should, he 
advises, be now performed by one or both of the Secretaries of 
State. " The gentlemen of Wales have always coveted to be 
governed immediately by the King or by the Prince, and by the 
means suggested you take them into your immediate protection." ^ 
The place of the Council of the Marches was, as a matter of fact, 
supplied by the Courts of Great Sessions, which continued to 
exercise jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters until their 
abolition in 1830. 

' I Wm. & M., c. 27. The grounds of suppression are: (i) that the- 
Court had been found by experience an intolerable burthen to the'subject,, 
contrary to the Great Charter, the known laws of the land, and the birth- 
right of the subject, and the means to introduce an arbitrary power and 
government ; (2) that matters determinable there may be redressed in thf> 
ordinary course of justice within the shires of the Principality. 

2 S.P.D., William and Mary, July 23rd, 1689. 

* Ibid. (Cal., February 13th, 1689, to April, 1690), pp. 383-4. 



One of the most noteworthy points in the history of the Council 
in the Marches is its relation to the various cities and towns in 
which its meetings were held. Chief among these was, of course, 
Ludlow ; but there were many others, and from their archives 
much information as to the Council's movements and proceedings 
can be drawn. The most frequent places of meeting next to 
Ludlow were Bewdley and Shrewsbury ; but the Council at various 
times held sessions at Hereford, Worcester, Gloucester, Tewkes- 
bury, Hartlebury, Bridgenorth, Oswestry, and Wrexham.^ The 
list of places visited by that " stowte travellinge presidente " 
Bishop Lee would be far longer, for he scoured Wales as well 
as the Marches in his search for thieves. 

Few English towns are more full, even to-day, of old-world 
charm than Ludlow. Its history has twice been written at length 
by men of Shropshire birth, one a Ludlow townsman. ^ In the 
sixteenth century it had its poet Thomas Churchyard, who did 
his best, though with indifferent success, to describe in fitting 
verse the town and church and castle. The following may 
suffice as a specimen of his well-meaning, though pedestrian, 

muse : 

"Thus farre I goe to prove this Wales in dede 
Or els at least, the martchers of the same. 
But further speake, of shiere it is no neede, 
Save Ludloe now, a towne of noble fame : 

• In S.P.D., Jas. I., Vol. XIX., No. 35 (footnote). 
^ Vis. by Mr. R. H. Clive (1840) and by Mr. Thomas Wright (1841). 



A goodly seate, where oft the councell lyes, 
Where monuments, are found in auncient guyse : 
Where kings and queenes, in pompe did long abyde, 
And where God pleasde, that good Prince Arthur dyde. 

"The towne doth stand most part upon an hill 
Built well and fayre, with streates both large and wide ; 
The houses such, where straungers lodge at will, 
As long as there the councell lists abide. 
Both fine, and cleare the streates are all throughout. 
With condits cleere and wholesome water springs: 
And who that lists to walke the towne about, 
Shall finde therein some rare and pleasant things : 
But chiefly there the ayre so sweet you have, 
As in no place ye can no better crave." ' 

Ludlow was certainly well fitted to be the Council's meeting- 
place : it lies high on a knoll girt by the river Teme, in a position 
easy of defence and yet accessible. It was noted, as Churchyard 
says, for the healthfulness of its air, a matter of much importance 
in days when the plague was a dreaded visitant to towns of any 
size. The history of Ludlow is closely interwoven with that 
of the Welsh Marches. According to Camden, the castle was 
built by Roger of Montgomery, first Earl of Shrewsbury, and 
forfeited to the Crown by the attainder of Robert of Belleme. 
It was granted by Henry I. to one Fulk de Dinan, who was 
succeeded by his son, Joce de Dinan, between whom and Sir 
Hugh de Mortimer raged a feud of the true Border type. Sir 
Joce got possession of his enemy and detained him in prison 
till he should pay a ransom of three thousand silver marks, as 
well as all his plate, horses, and birds. The tower where 
Mortimer was confined is the loftiest in the third ward of the 
castle, and still bears his name. In Sir Henry Sydney's 
Presidency it was used for the keeping of the Council 
records. Nowadays it serves as a storehouse for the rifles 
of the Ludlow volunteers, who are drilled in the castle 

' Churchj^ard, Worthines of Wales (ed. 1776, reprinted from the edition 
of 1587). 


After the death of Joce de Dinan the Castle seems to have 
been in the hands of the Crown again till the sixteenth year 
of King John, when it passed to the Lacy family. Walter 
de Lacy left as his heiresses two granddaughters : the one, 
Matilda or Maud, married Geoffrey de Genevile or Joinville, the 
brother of the historian. It is to this Geoffrey that the Sieur 
de Joinville refers in speaking of his preparations for the crusade 
of 1248. "I spent the last week in feasts and banquets with 
my brother Vaucouleur and all the rich men of that part of the 
country." The co-heiress Margery married John de Verdun. 
The Ludlow inheritance was thus divided, but ultimately by 
marriage and exchange it was re-united as the possession of 
Roger de Mortimer, Earl of March, the husband of Joan, the 
great-granddaughter of Maud de Genevile. Henceforth Ludlow 
superseded Wigmore as the seat of the Mortimer power. Here 
Roger, Earl of March, entertained Edward HI. with tournaments 
and other diversions, for which, adds the chronicler, he did not 
receive due recompense. 

The chequered history of the Mortimer family in the fourteenth 
and fifteenth centuries is reflected in the extant notices regarding 
Ludlow Castle. The above-mentioned Roger built a chapel 
dedicated to St. Peter in the " utter ward," to commemorate 
his escape from the Tower in 1323. Li the fourth year of 
Edward IH.'s reign he was disgraced, and all his lands were seized 
to the king's use. His grandson Roger, however, was restored 
in title and estate, and regained Ludlow among his other 
possessions. He also had a grandson named Roger, who, on 
the death of his father, Edmund (husband of the Lady Philippa, 
daughter of Lionel Duke of Clarence), became the ward of the 
Earl of Arundel. Roger left a son Edmund, aged six, who 
became the ward of Henry Prince of Wales, was taken prisoner 
by Owen Glendower, served in France, and died as Lord-Lieu- 
tenant of Ireland in the twenty-fourth year of his age. His 
cousin Richard, Duke of York (son of his sister Anne), became 
his heir, and thus Ludlow came to take a leading part in the 
Wars of the Roses. Here the Duke of York mustered the 
army which melted away in the so-called Rout of Ludford Bridge. 


The town was left a prey to the king's soldiers, and was pillaged 
and burnt. As a compensation for losses sustained in the wars, 
it received a renewal of its charter from Edward IV., and it 
seems to have enjoyed special favour during the reigns of the 
Yorkist kings. 

The Castle of Ludlow formed one of the line of fortresses 
extending from Richard's castle along Corve-dale.^ The extent 
to which the Welsh Border was fortified in mediaeval times may 
be seen by a list of castles drawn up in the earlier years of 
Henry III, Herefordshire contained nineteen and Shropshire six. 
One line stretched from Monmouth to Radnor ; another skirted 
the Roman road from Hereford to Shropshire ; another, in- 
cluding Knighton, Clun, and Bishop's Castle, defended the Welsh 
Border on the north-west, and the fourth was that of which 
Ludlow formed one link. 

The earliest of the existing buildings is the keep, which in its 
general character resembles the keeps of Rochester and Rich- 
mond. It has been much altered, especially in the fifteenth 
century, when the steps leading to the original entrance on the 
first story at the east turret were removed, and a new entrance 
made in the mass of the wall. In the time of Henry I. the 
buildings were extended, probably by Joce de Dinan, to include, 
besides the keep, an inner court or castle proper, and an outer 
court surrounded by strong walls and towers, and intended to 
shelter cattle and peasantry in case the town were attacked. There 
were two moats — that which still exists, and another on the 
site of the present walks towards the town. No moat was 
needed on the side towards the river, where access to the castle 
is prevented by the steepness of the rock. Joce de Dinan 
was probably the builder of the chapel dedicated to S. Mary 
Magdalene, which is of special interest as being one of the 
two earliest round churches in the kingdom. A covered way 
formerly led from the state apartments on the north to a door- 
way in the chapel wall, and so to the gallery ; this was still 
standing as late as 1768. In the fourteenth century probably, 

' For a full description of the Castle see Mr. Clark's Mediaeval and 
Military Architecture. 


when the castle was held by the Mortimers, the hall and state 
apartments were erected on the north side of the inner court. 
The great hall, sixty feet long and thirty broad, was approached 
by a flight of marble steps. The so-called Prince Arthur's room 
was in a tower to the west of the hall ; the banqueting-room 
lay to the east. 

In the sixteenth century great alterations and additions were 
made. Bishop Lee, as noted above, was active in repairing the 
castle ; but the most noteworthy additions were those of Sir 
Henry Sydney, who erected a mass of buildings opposite the 
chapel on the south side of the court. In the Lansdowne MSS. 
(No. III., art. 9, printed by Clive, p. 38) is a list of the buildings 
and repairs done by him to Her Majesty's houses in the Marches. 
The list is a long one, and includes : (i) offices over the porter's 
lodge (kitchen, larder, and buttery) ; (2) walls near this lodge ; 
(3) a wall at the lodge to enclose a space of two hundred yards 
in which the prisoners might walk ; (4) a wall enclosing a wood- 
yard ; (5) a court-house and two offices underneath for keeping 
the records ; (6) a " fayre lardge stone bridge into the said castle 
w*** one greate arche in the myddest and twoe at both endes." 
Besides all this, he had repaired the chapel, ceiled, glazed, and 
tiled it with " fayre and lardg wyndowes " ; put up wainscoting, 
benches, seats, and kneeling-places, and adorned it with the 
arms of Her Majesty, divers noblemen, and all the Lords 
President and Councillors. Among other items mentioned are 
lodgings and offices behind the kitchen, " sundry greate and 
lardg wyndowes," " waynescotting and flooring of a great parlor 
within the castle," " a ffayre tennys corte within the same castle, 
paved with freestone," and a conduit of lead more than a mile 
in length, to convey water to the castle. Sydney's efforts were 
not confined to the castle only ; the water from the great 
fountain within the walls was conveyed in leaden pipes into 
the garden and various offices, and thence into the Castle Street, 
where a fountain of lime and stone was erected, to the great 
satisfaction, doubtless, of the inhabitants. 

The above buildings were probably finished about 1581, 
for in that year the following inscription was put up over 


the entrance to the inner court of the castle, where it still 
remains : 

" Hominibus ingratis loquimini lapides. 

Anno regni Reginae Elizabethae 23 

The 22 Year Co'plet of the Presidency 

of Sir Henry Sydney 

Knight of the Most Noble Order of 

The Garter etc. 1581." 

Sydney, one may hope, found in the supervision of these 
buildings some comfort amid the disappointments which saddened 
the close of his hfe. His son-in-law and successor continued 
his work, for in the outer court is a range of buildings to the 
left of the entrance, bearing the arms of Queen Elizabeth and 
of the Earl of Pembroke. 

In Clive's Documents connected with the History of 
Ludlow is an account of the " Arms and Inscriptions formerly 
existing in the Castle of Ludlow and in the Bull Inn there." 
This account was drawn from manuscripts in the possession of 
John Mytton, Esq., of Halston Hall, Shropshire (1823). In the 
Council Chamber were once the arms of Henry Herbert, second 
Earl of Pembroke, and of several others, his predecessors or 
successors in the ofhce of Lord President. In all, two hundred 
and fifty-six coats-of-arms are described, including, besides 
those of Councillors, the arms of Edward IV., Henry VII., 
Henry VIII., and some of the early owners of the castle, as 
Sir Walter de Lacy and Geoffrey de Genevile. This manuscript 
is important for determining the dates when the various Lords 
President held office. Other coats-ofarms are enumerated as 
existing in the hall and the lodging of the Lords Justices ; 
others, again, are preserved to this day in the Bull Inn. 

In 1631 the steward of the castle, John Betts, writing to 
a member of the Earl of Bridgewater's house at Barbican, 
London, gives an account of the chief rooms then in use, and 
recommends that certain repairs be done and some hangings 
procured.^ Three years later, on Michaelmas Day, 1634, the 

' Ludlow Castle Papers, 59 (Bridgewater MSS). 


great hall was filled with guests to watch the masque of Comus, 
and to hear how 

" all this tract that fronts the falling sun 
A noble Peer of mickle trust and power 
Has in his charge with tempered awe to guide 
An old and haughty nation, proud in arms ; 
Where his fair offspring, nursed in princely lore, 
Are coming to attend their father's state 
And new-intrusted sceptre." ' 

During the Civil War the Castle was held for the king till 
June 9th, 1646, when it was captured by the Parliamentary forces 
under Sir William Brereton. Four years later the king's goods 
there were inventoried and sold by order of the Council of State. 
The full particulars are to be found in Harleian MS. 4898, and 
are printed by both the historians of Ludlow. The estimated 
value of the whole was ;;^34i Ss. ^d. Several articles were sold 
to a Mr. Bass, in some cases for more than the price named in 
the inventory. Fifty-three rooms or closets are mentioned, the 
prince's chamber heading the list. The changes wrought by 
the Civil War are seen in the entry, " In the Governor's 
Quarters, formerly the Justices' Lodgings." The Council 
Chamber was left desolate indeed, for all it contained were three 
tables, one form, a wicker screen, a fire-grate, and two stools, 
the value in all being ^1. The court-house of justice was 
in little better case ; it contained a feather bolster and a brass 
pot, value fourteen shillings, while the seat of justice, table, and 
benches were valued at ten shillings. Two pieces of tapestry 
hangings formerly used in the Court and kept in the first ward- 
rode were appraised at jQ^ ?>s. 6d. The makers of the inventory 
set down with brutal frankness the state of the furniture and 
goods. The reader feels transported into the grimiest of second- 
hand shops by such entries as " three broaken lanthornes," 
"one old rotten quilt," "one large old Bible," "a parcel of 
ragged sheets and tablecloths," "an old surplice of Holland" 
(the chaplain's, no doubt), " twenty old dyaper and flaxen napkins 

' See Prof. Masson's Milton, Vol. I., pp. 156-68, ed. 1890. 


full of holes " ; nor are matters much mended by the entry that 
follows, " fifteen dyaper napkins somewhat better." 

Mr. Bass became the possessor of a most miscellaneous col- 
lection of articles, ranging from the " standing bedstead covered 
with watched damaske with all the furniture suitable thereunto 
belonging," valued at ;if 30, down to " a brass cuUendor, a scimmer 
and a broaken befe forke." The most interesting entry is that 
relating to the withdrawing-room, which contained " Two pictures 
the one of the late King and y^ other of his Queen." They 
may have been Vandykes, and they were valued at ten shillings ! 

After the Restoration the castle had to be refurnished and 
repaired. It would appear from the information extant as to the 
Earl of Carbery's Presidency that much dissatisfaction was felt 
with the way in which the work was carried out. Thomas 
Hunton, in the petition mentioned in an earlier chapter, com- 
plained that the earl had not supplied proper furniture, so that 
the judges had to furnish their own lodgings ; what was pro- 
vided was not paid for, and was procured second or third hand. 
The workmen who had carried out the repairs could not get their 
wages, and out of the ;^9,ooo allowed by the king only ^£"3,000 
had been expended. 

Before many years had passed, Ludlow Castle was deserted : 
it was doubtless furbished up for the visit of the Duke of 
Beaufort during the Progress described above. Four years later 
(1688) it was secured for the Prince of Orange by Lord Herbert 
of Cherbury, who imprisoned there Sir William Blount, the 
Roman Catholic Sheriff of Worcester. After 1689 it was left 
to fall into decay ; by degrees the fabric was stripped of lead, 
timber, and carvings ; but the destruction was gradual, for in 1708 
forty rooms were entire, and sixty years later the arms of some of 
the Lords President were still visible.^ At some time during 

' In the museum at Ludlow is an ancient record or deed chest with 
three locks, which in the early part of the eighteenth century was filled with 
tapestry and armour, and conveyed from Ludlow Castle into S. Lawrence's 
Church for safety ; but in vain, for it was rifled of its contents. A description 
of the castle (also in the museum) says : " It is not to be wondered that this 
noble Castle is in decay, when we consider that the inhabitants of the 
neighbourhood live upon the sale of the material." 


the eighteenth century the panels bearing the arms of the various 
nobles and others mentioned above were made into wainscoting 
for the Bull Inn. In all probability the records of the Court 
were turned to yet baser uses by the Ludlow tradesmen, unless, 
indeed, they were left to moulder to dust in some dark corner of 
the deserted ruin, or sent up to London and lost in a mass of 
unassorted public records. 

Several of the Council members seem to have built houses 
in Ludlow. Churchyard, in one of his welcome lapses into 
prose, tells us of the " fayre house by the gate of the making 
of Justice Walter," of the " fayre house that Maister Secretarie 
Foxe did bestowe great charges on " ; Mr. Townesend, too, " hath 
a fayre house at Saint Austins once a friarie." A noteworthy 
reference to Ludlow in the early days of the seventeenth century 
occurs in Baxter's memoirs : " About seventeen years of age," 
he writes, " being at Ludlow Castle, where many idle gentlemen 
had little else to do, I had a mind to learn to play at tables and 
the best gamester in the house undertook to teach me." Persons 
of leisure no doubt abounded, for " the house was great, there 
being four judges, the king's attorney, the clerk of the fines, 
with all their servants and all the lord president's servants 
and many more ; and the town was full of temptations through 
the multitude of persons (counsellors, attorneys, officers and 
clerks) and much given to tippling and excess." ^ 

The connection of Ludlow with the Council appears in a 
less unfavourable light in a curious tract entitled, " The Loue 
of Wales to their soueraigne Prince," printed from the only 
extant copy by Clive in his History of Ludlow. The writer, 
Daniel Powel, was the son of Dr. David Powel, who corrected, 
augmented, and continued Humphrey Lhuyd's " Historie of 
Cambria, now called Wales." He describes in the quaint 
English of his day the ceremonies that took place at Ludlow 
on November 4th, 161 6, "the day of the Creation of the high 
and mighty Charles, Prince of Wales and Earle of Chester in 
his Maiesties Palace of White-hall." The Lord President, Lord 
Eure, was absent, and three of the Councillors were attending 
' Reliquiae Baxterianse, ed. 1696, p. 421. 


His Majesty's special service in London ; but on the appointed 
day there were present at Ludlow the Chief Justice of Chester, 
Sir Thomas Chamberlaine, with his colleagues Sir Thomas 
Cornewaile (Cornewall), High Sheriff of Shropshire, and Mr. 
Thomas Harley, besides the solicitor and attorney attending 
the Council, and many gentlemen from the neighbourhood. 

The celebration began by affixing the arms, name, and style 
of the prince under the pulpit in S. Lawrence's Church, in 
the castle chapel and in the court-house ; also on the town- 
gates and high cross and the principal posts and pillars of the 
market-place. About nine o'clock a procession came up to 
the castle to escort the Justice and Council to church — the 
bailiffs, magistrates, and chief brethren, " very richly clad and 
apparelled," with the officers and the church choir and six of 
the free scholars bearing pennons of the prince's arms. Before 
them went the town waits ; and the procession was headed 
by two hundred soldiers with halberds, pikes, corslets, muskets, 
and calivers. On the castle green they met Master Justice in 
his scarlet robes and the other Councillors, counsellors-at-law, 
attorneys, clerks, officers of the castle, and other gentlemen. 
These were all very richly apparelled, and had "another company 
of waits and good consorts of Musicke as Cornets, Sagbuts and 
other winde Instruments playing and sounding all along the 
way before them." Hereupon the musketeers discharged a 
volley, "to the great admiration and much reioycing of all the 
spectators " ; and then the merry procession started off to the 
church, where yet another volley was discharged. Then service 
was said, and " one M. Thomas Pierson a graue reuerend diuine 
and worthy Preacher made a very learned Sermon of an houre 
and halfe long." 

As the company came out into the market-place they passed 
by a scaffold near the high cross, from which the scholars in 
turn delivered verses composed for the occasion. Those in 
Latin were "principally invented and naade by the painful 
Industrie of that iudicious and laborious maister of Artes 
Humfrey Herbert, Chiefe Schoole maister of His Maiesties Free 
Schoole there, upon lone dayes warning." The others in English 


were contributed by a worthy alderman of the town, Master 
Richard Fisher. There is something pathetic in the doggerel 
lines, with their confident assurance that the young prince will 
" protect this happy Government," and their hope — 

"O prosper may he and his glory more 
Than any Charles the world had e'er before." 

Just thirty years later the Council was no more, the castle was 
held by the Parliament, and the king was a prisoner in the hands 
of the Scots. But in November, 1616, few, if any, could have 
foreseen those evil days, and after the scholars had received 
due applause for their "gracious boldnesse in delivering their 
speeches," the procession passed to the court-house, where the 
Justice delivered an oration in praise of the prince. With com- 
mendable prudence he used the opportunity to put in la word for 
himself and his colleagues. " Let none," he said, " scorne nor 
contemne the power and authoritie of this Jurisdiction, his High- 
nesse being graciously pleased to signifie his pleasure to me and 
my said Brethren of this Counsell That he would protect and 
defend the same both by his Highnesse himselfe, and by his 
Princely meanes to the King his father." At the conclusion of 
the speech "the Musick played. Drums were strucke, Flutes 
whistled. Trumpets sounded, people showted, and another 
piercing and Thundering Volley of shot was let flie, the eccho 
and report whereof resounded admirably to the great solace and 
comfort of all present." 

It was one o'clock by now, and the Justice and Council, with 
the knights, esquires, and best sort of gentlemen, went to dine in 
the castle. The bailiffs and burgesses went down to the town 
to spend the rest of the day " in all joyfull and iouiall manner." 
The castle dinner was evidently a lengthy matter, for it was 
scarcely ended when the indefatigable bailiffs again appeared 
with the choir, pennon-bearers, and waits, for evening service 
in the castle chapel. At its conclusion the scholars offered up 
their pennons to the Justice, who ordered them to be placed 
in the chapel as mementoes of the day. The bailiffs and their 
company then took leave of the Council, and next day they 


celebrated the deliverance of king, queen, prince, and parliament 
from "the Papists' treasonable and horrible conspiracie and 
unmatchable intended Practise of the Gunne-powder Treason." 
A sermon was preached by the chaplain in attendance on the 
Lord President and Council, " which Sermon being ended, every 
man returned to their homes, the Musicke, Ringing and Bone- 
fires continuing, to the great comfort of all his Maiesties said 
louing and faithfuU Subjects all the said day." 

The connection of the Council with Ludlow is illustrated by 
many papers among the Borough MSS. The chamberlain's ac- 
counts, for example, contain notices of gifts to the Lord President 
or Councillors, consisting of money, wine, oxen, sugar, and so 
forth. A curious entry is the following : " It gyven unto the 
counseyllers wyffes towardes the eatinge of the d'ct. buckes 
to them by us gyven ii'f iiij'^" The Lord President, on his side, 
made presents of bucks and does to the corporation — e.g. " It. 
spend at Mr. baylyfs cothers hows at the etyng of the two 
dooes wiche my lord gave us vj* viij*^ " (see the bailiffs' accounts, 
to which those of the chamberlain are appended, for 1544-8). 
There is also a large number of orders directed by the Council 
to the bailiffs of the town, mostly in the reign of James I., 
though there are some of both earlier and later dates. Nearly 
all are orders for stay of suits before the bailiffs' Court or 
for release of prisoners from gaol. The formula commonly 
employed in the seventeenth century is this : " according to 
the auntient priviledge of our Court with our said Councell and 
our instrucc'ons to them in that behaulf graunted." This ancient 
privilege is thus explained in a petition from a person arrested 
for a supposed action of debt by one of the serjeants-at-mace : 
" that eu'y p'son and p'sons whatsoeu' having cause of suite for 
himself ether as pi. or deff. in this ho : Court is to have his 
priviledg to come to this Court and remayne here to prosecute 
the same and goe home againe, w'thout any man' of treble stay 
or arest." Such orders are often in favour of persons employed 
in the castle household or workmen engaged in the repairs 
of the buildings. 

Besides the above, there are orders to the bailiffs to come 


up to the castle lodge and receive prisoners, who are to be 
set in the pillory or whipped in the market-place. Among 
offences thus punished were forgery, perjury, serving false billets, 
etc. Once the bailiffs were ordered to set in the stocks 
John Clenche, " for stealinge of our pewter out of o*' Castle 
of Ludlowe." He was to be set in the stocks in the midst of 
the market-place, with one of his legs through the same, and 
a pewter dish about his neck hanging before him, and remain 
thus from eleven in the forenoon till one in the afternoon. 
Another order directs the bailiffs to whip out of the town as 
a rogue and vagabond a man who, "alleadgng himself to be 
deafe and upon pretence of suites in lawe before o' said Councell, 
is fallen utterlie to neclect the honest course of lief whereby 
he hath bin and still is able to mayntayne himself, abusing 
also the late charitie here bestowed upon him and geving 
himself to nothing but ydlenes and lewd and evill speeches 
to the evill example of others and utter rapine of himself if he 
be longer suffered in this disordered course." Yet another order 
directs the bailiffs to repair to the porter's lodge, "and of him 
to take and receaue into yo'' chardge the bodie of one Griffith 
ap Rees (whoe was taken upon suspic'on of Pyking of pockettes 
and theverie and his hand taken in another mans pockett." 
The offender was to be whipped in open market between twelve 
and two o'clock, and then brought back to the porter's lodge. 

Several petitions addressed to the Council are also extant. 
The most interesting is one from the bailiffs, burgesses, and 
commonalty of Ludlow, complaining that Edmund Cornewall, 
"a man of greate habylity, worshipp and countenance," had 
felled timber and grievously beaten and wounded their tenants 
in Evesham parish, where they possessed a parcel of wood ground, 
once the property of the dissolved Palmers' Guild. Another in 
the same names complains of the non-payment by Edward Foxe 
of 50X. rent from tenements in Ludlow, once the property of the 
Priory of S. John the Evangelist. To this petition is annexed a 
record of the proceedings m the resulting case. The town made 
good its claim to part of the arrears of rent, and its claim to 
the remainder was to be further examined by Commissioners. 


Members of the Council at times held office in the borough — 
e.g. both Sir John Bridgeman and Henry Townesend were 
recorders, receiving a salary of ;£2 per annum. Respect 
towards the Council was rigidly enforced by the town authorities, 
as is seen from an abject petition for release addressed to 
Sir Thomas Cornewall by a man imprisoned in Galford's Tower 
(the town gaol) for having " given some wordes of abuse towardes 
your worship." Among incidental notices relating to the Council 
is one showing its low estate after the Restoration ; this is a 
list of officers and servants attending at Ludlow Castle. The 
number is but ten against the large household in the days of 
Sir Henry Sydney. 

The Parish Church of S. Lawrence at Ludlow still preserves 
some memorials of the Council of the Marches. In the south 
transept against the south wall is the tomb, with recumbent 
effigy, of Uame Mary Eure (wife of the Lord President), who 
died in 161 3. On the south side of the choir immediately to 
the east of the stalls is the tomb of Edward Walter (d. 1593), 
Chief Justice of South Wales. On the north side of the choir 
opposite to the Walter tomb is the monument of Edward Waties, 
erected in his own lifetime. On the south side, again, just below 
the altar steps and to the east of the Walter tomb, is the monu- 
ment of Ambrozia Sydney, fourth daughter of Sir Henry and 
Lady Sydney, who died in Ludlow Castle, February 22nd, 
^574"5- The finest of all the tombs remaining in the church 
is that of Sir Robert Townesend and Dame Anne his wife ; 
it stands on the north side within the altar rails, and is sur- 
mounted by two recumbent effigies. 

The importance of the Council to Ludlow may be gathered 
from entries in the churchwardens' accounts, especially between 
1607 and 1689. The repair of the pews in which sat the Lord 
President, his wife, her gentlewomen, and the various members 
of the Council, was evidently a matter of great moment to 
the churchwardens. Thus in 1607-8 a sum of i^s. ^d. was 
expended on "a walnut boorde to make the dext [s/c] in my 
laddy [sic] Ewer's pew," for a plank to enlarge the pew door, 
for five yards of " fflanders bayes and Inckell to put abought 



my Ladyes seate," for "matting in the gentlewomen's pew," for 
a " mat and a tumpe for my ladyes pewe," and for a lock and key. 
In 1610 the Lord President's pew needed an expenditure of 
los. for " Bayes, Incle, Tacks and Workemanshipp," besides 
4d. for a mat to lie under his seat in the high chancel. In 
1618 lod. was paid for altering the Countess of Northampton's 
pew and for a ledge and nails. In 1619-20 16^. was paid for 
" matts and tumps for my lord and the counsell pewes," and 
Sd. for " doees heare [sic] for stuffing the countise pewe." 

Of considerable interest are the entries respecting the allotment 
of pews — e.g. in 1620-1 it is recorded that for several years past 
Jane Lewis, who had an interest for the term of her life in a pew 
situated in the middle aisle, had given it up to the Countess 
of Northampton. In consideration of this, Mrs. Lewis was granted 
two parts of the pew actually occupied by her. In 1625-6 a 
grant was made to two persons of a half-pew in the middle aisle, 
provided that the Countess of Northampton might have the 
use thereof for her gentlewomen during her residence in town. 
In consideration of this promise the town received 2s. but a 
marginal note shows that there was some hitch : " stayd for 
Mrs. Selman, because the Churchwardens doe not a gree [sic] 
for her." The most interesting entries occur during the inter- 
regnum. Ludlow was a loyal place, and must have greatly 
resented the overthrow of the Council, whose meetings brought 
much money into the town. Accordingly, when in May, 1649, 
Sir Marmaduke Lloyd's pew was granted to the mayor, a proviso 
was added that if the former occupier came again to reside in 
the town the grant should be void. So, too, when a life grant 
of a pew, commonly called " ye Countesse seat," was made to 
Captain William Botterell, governor of the castle, and one of 
the bailiffs, his wife Sara, and the survivor of them, the condition 
imposed was that, " if there be any future occasion for ye said 
pue to ye same purpose for w*^** it was heretofore made use of, 
then ye above s'd grant to be voyd and that he ye s'd Capt. 
Botterell shall surrender ye same." 

Many entries note the amount paid for bell-ringing at the 
coming of the Lord President or members of the Council. 


Once there is a note of 3*/. paid " for one to attend Mr. Justice 
comeinge on the steeple," the high tower of S. Lawrence's 
Church, still a landmark for miles round, being evidently the 
best available place of outlook. The arrival of the Lord Pre- 
sident's wife was similarly greeted; in 1628-9 i2d. was paid for 
ringing at the coming of the Countess of Northampton from 
Bewdley to Ludlow. 

Between 1644 and 1661 there was neither President nor 
Councillor for Ludlow bell-ringers to greet ; but the bells were 
not silent. Between 1644 and 1646, when the Marches were 
aflame with war, are some brief entries which bring home with 
curious vividness not the joy only, but the sorrow of those 
troubled years. 

" It'm. pay'd for a sroud for a souldier iij^ iiij'* 

,, ,, ,, Ringing for the Kinge xij"* 

,, ,, ,, a sroud for a souldier iij® 

,, „ ,, Ringing upon the 25 November v^ 

for the Kinge 
,, for Ringinge at the King's Coming iij^" 

to towne 
The bells were rung and gladly enough, no doubt, in the year 
of the Restoration, when a free Parliament was voted, when 
Charles was recalled, on his proclamation as king, and on his 
landing at Dover. At the same time one Griffith Edwards 
received 20s. for " newe Lyminge ^ the King's Armes w'^'» were 
washt out in the Late warres." From 1660 to 1689 Ludlow saw 
some revival of its old prosperity ; the Lords President under 
Charles II. visited it several times, as is shown by numerous 
entries similar to those already quoted.^ The last of such visits 
was that paid by the Earl of Macclesfield in 1689. 

Many memories rise before one who stands in the inner court 
of Ludlow Castle, and looks in turn at keep and chapel and the 

' I.e. limning. The spelling of these accounts is erratic in the extreme. 
In 1610-11 is the entry, "It: for writing and castinge of these bokes wee 
beynge illyterate." 

^ A curious entry is the following under 1681-2 : "It. for p[er]fumering 
the Lord P''sedents seat, is. 


great Council-room — memories of Border strife in the dim past 
and of Prince and President in days which, though nearer, 
seem strangely far away. Not warriors, but children, are among 
the best-remembered dwellers in those ruined rooms : Prince 
Edward and Prince Arthur ; the Lady Mary, who lived to be a 
queen, and the Mary Sydney of happier fate, " fair and wise and 
good." Nor must those children be forgotten from whose lips 
fell the noblest words ever uttered in that stately hall. Baron 
and prince and poet have their share in the story of Ludlow 
Castle ; but the memory that comes home to us most to-day 
is that of the careworn statesman who solaced the too early 
twilight of a toilsome life by rearing walls that still speak to a 
not wholly ungrateful posterity. 

Next to Ludlow, the most frequent resort of the Council seems 
to have been Bewdley, which received its charter from James I. 
partly for this reason.^ The connection of the Council with the 
place went back to the time of Prince Arthur, for whom the 
manor place of Tickenhill, to the west of the town (built by 
Richard, Earl of March and Duke of York), was made into a 
palace. Leland describes it as "a fayre manour place by west 
of the towne, standinge in a goodly parke well wooded, on the 
very knappe of the hill that the towne standeth on." The town 
itself, he says, is " sette on the syde of a hill, soe comely a man 
cannot wish to see a towne better. It riseth from Severne banke 
by east, upon the hill by west ; so that a man standing on the 
hill trans pontem by east may discerne almost every house in 
the towne, and at the rising of the sunne from the east the wholl 
towne glittereth being all of newe building as it were of gould."^ 
At Tickenhill Prince Arthur held his Court, and here he was 
married by proxy to Catherine of Aragon, Lord President Smyth 
being among the spectators.^ 

The Bewdley records furnish some valuable information as to 

' See the History of Bewdley (by J. R. Burton), to which I am indebted 
for many of the following details. 
•: Leland, Itin. IV. 1836. 
» Rymer, FcEdera, XII. 756-62. 


the Prince's Council, such as the conclusion of the long feud 
between Kidderminster and Bewdley already mentioned. Other 
notices of the town occur ; e.g. in 1500 Bishop Smyth, when on 
his way to Lincoln, was overtaken by a royal messenger bidding 
him return to Bewdley, in order to direct certain arduous affairs 
of the Prince of Wales.^ Next year Prince Arthur was still at 
Bewdley, for he wrote thence to the University of Oxford 
requesting that a servant of his might be elected superior Bedell.^ 
After his death in 1502 Tickenhill Palace would seem to have 
fallen into decay, for it was repaired at considerable expense 
when the Lady Mary was sent down to the Marches. Extant 
accounts show that workmen were employed on it for eighteen 
weeks at a wage of i,\d. a day, the total amount spent being 
;^354 5-^- 52^' I""* the account of the repairs " My Lord 
President's Chamber" is specially mentioned. Under date 1528 
in the town records is an order by the princess's Council that her 
servants and persons belonging to her household are to have their 
horses at livery in all inns and hostelries of the town at the rate of 
\\d. a day and night for hay and litter. The charge was to be 2d. 
for all other strangers, suitors, and others repairing to the town. 

By the reign of Elizabeth Tickenhill House was again in need 
of repair, and ^59 \\s. 4.d. was expended upon it in 1582. 
Sir Henry Sydney was as energetic a builder here as at Ludlow : 
in a petition to the Queen on various matters concerning his 
office he mentions the lack of water supply for the " house at 
Tickinhill by beaudeley, a house of often resort of the President 
and Counsell." Water had to be conveyed thither in carts with 
great charge and much difficulty. He therefore asks that a 
quantity of lead there, brought up by Lord Admiral Seymour for 
the purpose of conducting water to the house, might be used and 
not be left to be daily stolen. The head of the conduit and the 
trench for the pipes to lie in were already half made. Sydney 
asked for a warrant to employ the lead for this purpose, and 
suggested that any left over might be sold to pay the expenses 
of the work. A Treasury warrant was issued giving permission 

' Churton, Life of Bishop Smyth, p. 113. ^ Ibid., p. 170. 


to use the lead, and adding that any surplus material might, if 
Sir Henry Sydney thought well, be conveyed to some convenient 
port and used for Ireland.^ The result of Sydney's efforts is 
recorded in Lansdowne MSS. iii, f. 20, as follows : 

" Item, where her ma*'^* howse of Tyckenhall by Beaudley was 
in greate ruyn and decay lyke to have fallen, the same was 
amended repared, tyled and tymbered, the Chambers therof 
waynscotted, ffayre lardge walkes inclosed w'th pale and Tymber 
adioyning to the said howse w'th buttes therin and certen other 
pastymes there to be used by the Counsaill. 

" Item a conduyt of ledd w'th a howse of lyme and stone for 
a hedd to the same and pypes of ledd for conveying of the water 
a myle in lenght, a ffayre lardge ffounteyne made with Lyme stone 
and ledd at the howse, her ma'tes Armes w'th diuers other 
Armes sett therupon and conveying the water in ledd unto 
divers offices within the same howse and in like maner con- 
veying of the same into the Towne of Beaudley and making of 
twoe funteynes with lyme and stone in the said Towne." 

During the reigns of James I. and Charles I. Tickenhill House 
was occupied by Ralph Clare, Esq. In a letter from the king 
to Lord Eure (August i6th, 1608) he is described as "Keeper 
of the King's house," and is said to have "forgetten himself" 
in refusing to receive the Lord President and Council without 
reserving some rooms for himself. Orders had been sent for 
him to receive them immediately. It is added that as the king 
was then far from his learned counsel, and had not many of 
his Privy Council in attendance, the consideration of the matter 
must be reserved till next term.- More than thirty years later 
it appears from a letter in the Bridgewater MSS., written by 
Henry Eccleston, steward of Ludlow Castle, that Tickenhill 
House was then let on lease to Sir Ralph Clare, whose term had 
nearly expired. He had neglected necessary repairs, the tiling 
had fallen, the planks had been stolen, and the stables let to 
carriers and others. Eccleston reports that the sills near the 
ground needed 120 ft. of timber, that the tiling and ceiling 

' S.P.D (Vol. 1547-80), Eliz., Vol. XIV. 38. 

- Dovaston MS., f. 68b (Hist. MSS. Commission). 


would cost ;j^io to mend, and that Sir Ralph expected all 
repairs to be done at the king's charges.^ 

The inhabitants of Bewdley seem to have presumed unduly 
on the favour they enjoyed through the resort of the Council, 
and to have committed sundry depredations on His Majesty's 
woods near by. In 1623 a complaint of this was made to the 
President and Council, showing that certain persons had carried 
away " black poles," out of which laths and clap-boards were 
made and traded in, even by the magistrates of the town, who 
were bound to " right the King against these apparent wrongs." 
The complainant urged that the President and Council should 
take some speedy action whereby this "insufferable insolence" 
might be severely punished. An interesting entry relating to 
the town occurs in a letter from the Earl of Northampton 
to the Council of the Marches : " The Kinges pleasure is that 
you take care that the Lottery shall be presently removed from 
Beawdeley and that it contynue noe longer within the Marches 
of Wales to the ympoverishing of his subjectes there, unles it 
be in some greate and wealthy towns or citties with speciall 
care of the governors that the poore be not suft'ered to venture, 
or ells to be absolutely dismissed according as you in your 
discreacion and wisdome shall think fitt." ^ 

After the death of Charles I., Bewdley House fared no better 
than Ludlow Castle. In the Harleian MSS. (4,898, f. 623) is 
an inventory of the goods found there and sold by order of 
the Commonwealth. The list is no long one : in the kitchen 
were tables, dressers, benches, and other utensils ; in the 
chambers above were eight bedsteads, seven tables, five cup- 
boards, a small bench, and the tester of a bedstead ; in the 
brewing house were " two old Brewing falls, two Coolers, two 
Stands and one old Table." The value of everything was ^20, 
and the amount to which it was sold to Mr. Hales, of Bewdley, 
was ^27 195. td. 

In the Bewdley Chapel and Bridgewarden's accounts are 
numerous references to the Council in the Marches. One of 

' Bridgewater MSS., Ludlow Castle Papers, 2, March 8th, 1641. 
^ Dovaston MS., f. 936. 


the old chantries in the chapel seems to have been set apart 
for the use of the Lord President and Council, and the floor 
was well strewn with rushes when they attended Divine service. 
Their seat was kept in repair, as is seen by an entry of 4^-. 6d. 
for 2 1 yards of green cotton for covering it in 1570 ; a later 
entry, dated 1603, notes that 3^. 3^. was paid for " bayes, 
tacks, and incle for my lord his sett." In 1630 5^. was paid 
for " a large cagement to be set in the window over the Lorde 
Presidents pue." Many entries occur showing the amounts 
paid for ringing the bell at the Lord President's coming — e.g. in 
1596, gd., 2S. in 1602, and i2d. in 1604. In the last-named 
year 2s. was paid "to them that playd on the waytes at the 
cominge in of the Lord Zowche." 

Very numerous are the notices of the refreshments and presents 
bestowed on members of the Council. In 157 1 i^. 6d. was 
paid for wine given to Mr. Justice Throckmorton, and in 1582 
2S. 6d. for two quarts of claret to "my Lord Sidney." Sugar 
was evidently a very acceptable present : in 1587 15I lb., 
costing 25i'., were given to the Earl of Pembroke, and in 1597 
Sir John Pakenton (Packington) received a sugar-loaf weighmg 
10 lb. 3 oz. and costing 17^-. The wife of the Lord President 
got her share of these gifts : in 1598 the townswomen gave 
the Countess of Pembroke one sugar-loaf, price 16^. 6d. ; 3 boxes 
of " marmalat," price 9^. Sd. ; 2 boxes of " comfets," 55. The total 
cost of the gift was 30^. 2d., and the entry continues thus : 
" Receyved in pt. that the women pay'd towards their som 
2/6 apiece being 7 women amounting to 17/6, rest to paye." 
In 1602 the sum of 17^. 2d. was paid at the coming of Lord 
Zouch for wine, sugar, and cakes; in 1623 2s. Sd. was paid 
for "a pottell of Burnt sacke w'ch the Companie [i.e. of 
BridgewardensJ bestowed upon the Lord P'sedent [the Earl of 
Northampton] at his coming through Bewdley." Other gifts 
mentioned are claret and oranges. 

But the giving was by no means all on one side. Under 1624 
we find that the Lord President bestowed in September a present 
of venison upon the town. This was an occasion for a worthy 
feast, the items of which are duly set down in the accounts. 


Two shillings was paid to the bringers of the gift, and £,2 i-js. 2d. 
was expended on mutton, neats' tongues, a brisket of beef, apples, 
pears, and nuts, wheaten flour, pepper, bread, rabbits, chickens, 
spices, carrots, salt, and wine. The last item alone cost 175'. 
The expense of entertaining members of the Council or their 
servants passing through the town is often noted — e.g. in 1596 
the sum of 25^. 8^. was paid "for dyet and horsmeate" for 
Mr. Justice Shuttleworth ; 425-. xod. in 1597 "for the steward 
Mr. Morgan and others of my Lords gentlemen." In 1605 as 
much as ^^3 loi". 2d. was paid for Sir Richard Lewkenor and his 
company. A few entries give the sums paid to the Lord 
President's {i.e. the Earl of Pembroke's) players — e.g. 20s. 
in 1593, and icy. in 1615. 

Among other curious entries are the following : 

1598. — "For iiij yards of grene — to lay one the 
desk that the Justes leans one in the 
Court House . . . . . iij' viij"*. " 

1599. — "For corten-rings tenter hokes to hang the 

clothes in the Court House . . . j<*." 

1607. — " For fringe for my Lords seate . . vj**." 

1626. — " P'' at the appointm't of the Company when 
the Lo : President came about the Ryall 
subsidye for sack and clarett. . . 03' 8''." 

P** for mending at the Bridgehovvse when 
the prisoners came from Ludlow. . . 07' 2"^." 

1623. — " P*^ to Thomas Paine for setting a raile upon 

mie Ladies seate. .... 00^ 3''." 

Some notices occur of expenses in which the town was 
involved through suits before the Council — e.g. 

161 1. — " P'' to Mr. Bailiffs to send up to Mr. Bromley 
at Hillari Tearme for suites in law betwixt 
Sir Edward Blount and the Towne 
(amount not stated)." 

1614. — " In expenses at Ludlow when I rode thyther 
to follow the sute betwixt the towne and 
Cooke, mieselfe (Robert Vicaris) and mie 
horse three dayes, v"." 

One reference occurs to a charge that has been elsewhere noted 


as a great burden to places within the Council's jurisdiction — 
vi'z. the carriage of the "Councell's stufife." In 1615 ^i 3^. 2d. 
was paid for the carriage of one load. 

Next to Ludlow and Bewdley, the town of Shrewsbury, the 
capital of the Marches, was undoubtedly the Council's most 
frequent place of meeting. The connection was close from the 
Council's earliest days, as is seen by the ordinances for the " wele 
rest and tranquillitie of the town " made by Earl Rivers in the 
eighteenth year of Edward IV. The bailiffs' accounts show that 
next year, 1479, Prince Edward visited Shrewsbury, where he 
was given a present of money to purchase bread, ale, and wine.^ 
In 1480 he was again in the town, and confirmed the composition 
of the mercers, ironmongers, and goldsmiths. ^ 

In the reign of Henry VII. the visits of Prince Arthur to 
Shrewsbury were very frequent. As early as 1494, when he was 
only about nine years old, he and several members of his Council 
came to the town and were entertained with a play (probably a 
miracle-play) in the " quarell " — i.e. the Quarry. The expense of 
this visit was considerable ; the wine given to the prince at the 
play cost iioi^. 9</,^ and other items amounted to iZs. 8d. 
Members of the Council are mentioned as being entertained at 
the town's expense — viz. Thomas (afterwards Sir Thomas) Engle- 
field. Sir William Uvedale, and the Lord President, Bishop 
Smyth. In 1495 the king and queen, with his mother, the Lady 
Margaret, came to Shrewsbury, where the prince was waiting to 
give him welcome ; the bailiffs provided a royal feast, in which 
were included saffron bread and " ypocras " for the queen. 
Presents were given to the king's minstrels, the prince's players, 
the footmen and serjeants-at-mace, the total expenses amounting 
to ;!^39 lys. 6d., or something Hke ;^558 of our money. The 
townsfolk doubtless hoped that the royal visit might lead to the 

' Owen and Blakeway, History of Shrewsbury, Vol. I., p. 233. 

2 Ibzd. 

^ Ibid., p. 262. The amount given by Owen and Blakeway is cvi' ix^ ; 
the correction ex' is noted on p. 31 of the Hist. MSS., Report on the 
Shrewsbury MSS. 


decision in their favour of a dispute with the abbey concerning 
the hamlet of Merivale and rights over the stone bridge. 
Arundel, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, tried to settle the 
matter by arbitration, but before anything was effected, the 
bailiff and burgesses submitted to be " ordered accordyng to 
the prince's pleasure." Ultimately the matter was decided in 
favour of the abbot by Charles Bothe and Sir William Uvedale, 
both members of the prince's Council. 

After Prince Arthur's death in 1502 intercourse between the 
Council and the town was still maintained. One of the leading 
members at the time was Peter Newton, who built a house which 
for many years was the residence of the Council at Shrewsbury. 
On his arrival in the town to reside there, he and his wife were 
entertained at dinner by the bailiffs at a cost of 4^. 3./. The 
accounts of this period mention presents of wine and money to 
Lord President Smyth and various members of the Council. 
Under date 1521 is recorded a list of presents to the "Com- 
missioners of our Lord the King residing within the Abbey in 
the festival of Christmas, given for the honour of the town." 
It begins with a boar, price 8s. $d., and two swans, price 2>s. ; 
and the total cost, including wine, amounted to 50^. ']d. Besides 
the feast, we find a record of a gift of wine to Sir Richard 
Herbert and Mr. John Pulesdone (Puleston) " for their favour." 
This Sir Richard is of course the famous servant of Henry VHI., 
and chief ruler of all those parts of North Wales under the direct 
government of the Crown. 

Of a very different character from the above entries is the 
following : " Paid for fixing and putting the head of a certain 
felon and rebel of our Lord the King called Griffith ap J. 
ap David, otherwise Griffith Mikewyne upon a post over the 
town-gate towards Wales, to the terror and example of other 
the like felons and rebels, 5^." The MS. Chronicle of 
Shrewsbury gives some particulars about this man which throw 
light on the disturbed condition of the Marches at this time : 
" He was an honest man and a good farmer, uppon a certain 
tyme having a number of catell stollen from his farme place 
(as in those Wales was soonwhat wyld, one stelyng from another) 


the calves of the which kyne mackinge sutche bletynge noyse 
and pytyfull crye, that he was soe greevyd and in sutche agony 
that he wylfully drove them all, being about the number of xl into 
a deepe water, and drowynyd them ; and upon the same sware 
a desperate oothe that he never wold content hymselfe before 
he had spoyled that kynred that had stollen his kyne ; and so 
presently gave hymsellffe to owlarye and dyd many wyckyd deads 
which he confessed at hys execucon." 

Coming back to less gloomy subjects, we find in 15 21 a notice 
of wine given to Bishop Blyth and other Commissioners at a 
general procession on the feast of Corpus Christi. A few years 
later — in 1526 — the corporation sent a mission to Bewdley (where 
the Council of the Marches was sitting) for the decision of 
certain disputes with the corporation of Worcester. The bailiff 
was given ^s. 3c/. in advance to apparel his horse and harness, 
and a man was paid 1 2d. to ride on ahead to provide lodging. 

During the Presidency of Bishop Voysey the Council visited 
Shrewsbury, lodging, as heretofore, in the abbey. On one occasion 
(1526) wine was sent to the members in their chambers, an 
indulgence which shows that a taste for privacy and comfort 
was beginning to develop. The Christmas of 1532 was spent 
at the abbey, where the Commissioners were regaled with " a large 
and long boar, two swans, conies and other gifts." The corpora- 
tion of Shrewsbury, as of other boroughs, fully realised the 
advantage derived from the presence of the Council. In a paper 
dated 22 H. VIII., apparently a memorandum of instructions 
for its parliamentary representatives, is the article : " Item for 
the king's commissioners to resorte and abyde for the more 
part in the king's towne of Salop." Even the neighbourhood 
of the Council was an advantage, at any rate for the speedy 
hearing of news from London. In 1536 is the entry : "Money 
paid to Richard E. riding to the Commissioners touching new 
rumours concerning the Lady Anne late queen 40^." It would 
appear from this and other sources that the Government sent 
down to Ludlow some account of important current events. 

The manner in which the Council was received on its arrival 
in the town may be gathered from an entry in 1537 : "They 


be aggreed that all the aldermen beyng owt of the towne, shal 
be warned att theyre howses to prepare theym selffs to mete the 
king's commissioners ; and also that all wardens of occupacons 
shalbe in like manner warned to present unto Master Bailiffs 
or theire deputies, what able men they can make with horses, 
to mete the said commissioners. Item they agreed to present 
the said commissioners with four dozen bredd, half an oxe, 
a hogeshed of wyne and forther at Ma'' Bailiff's discression." 
The notices of the visit are curious : the Lord President received 
no fewer than seven hundred oysters at the cost of 2s. ^d. 
the king's Commissioners were given wine in S. Chad's 
Church, and a certain youth, at the instance of one of their 
number, got 2od. " ad emendam camisiam," to buy him a shirt. 

The second of these entries is illustrated by one of later date — 
1542 — noting that wine was given to the interluders after the 
interlude in S. Chad's churchyard before the Commissioners of 
our Lord the King, the bailiffs and others. On January 27th, 1543, 
the Lord President, Bishop Lee, was buried in S. Chad's " before 
the highe aulter there, under a toombe of marble stone, being 
on(e) the right hand." Dugdale, who visited S. Chad's in 1663, 
speaks of the bishop's monument as a " large marble tombe 
erected and covered over with a faire marble stone " ; it was 
removed in 1720 to make room to come up to the altar. 

At the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries, which 
took place during the Presidency of Bishop Lee, is the following 
entry in the municipal registers under the date of 9 Jan., 31 
H. VIII. : " They be aggreed that there shalbe suyte made 
unto the Kynge and his Counsell by mediacion of my Lord 
President and Mr. Justice, that the Abbey may stand and 
remayne to receyve the prince's grace or any other nobilite 
of the realme that shall resorte to this towne." The suit failed, 
the abbey was dissolved, and only the church remained intact. 
The Lord President and Council therefore never again, as in 
Prince Arthur's time, kept Christmas within the abbey walls. 
Three years before the Dissolution it had been agreed (July 31st, 
1357) that Mr. Newton's house be bought for the Lord President, 
and numerous entries henceforth occur in the municipal registers 


with regard to it. In 1558 or 1559 the roof was tiled and the 
windows were glazed; in 1563 it was let to Lord Stafford, with 
reservation of the use of it for the Council and the Justices 
of Assize. The Council House has now been modernised, but 
its gateway remains one of the many adornments of the town. 

During the reign of Edward VI. a few notices occur of the 
stay of the Lord President and Councillors in the town. In 
1548 wine was given to the Lord President, who was taking 
the musters of the men armed for Scotland ; they were cheered 
on their way by "histriones " — i.e. minstrels, or waits, as shown by 
the quaint entry, "'Regard' istrionibus ludentibus ante viros 
armatos." During Mary's reign no entry seems to occur in the 
town records respecting the Council, but during that of Elizabeth 
entries are numerous, especially in the Presidency of Sir Henry 
Sydney, who showed a special affection for Shrewsbury. In 1561 
the Corporation spent 15^. %d. on going to Bridgenorth to 
learn the Lord President's pleasure touching the Council's 
arrival. Next year, 1562, £,\2 \os. Sd. was paid for wine, 
an ox, feeding of horses, and other necessaries given to Sir 
Henry Sydney during his stay in August, " on account of his 
favour to the town." The notes of such disbursements are not 
always couched in such grateful terms ; there is somewhat of 
grudging in the statement under 1565 : " Spent upon John 
Thogmorton Knight and William Gerrard and their wives at 
their coming at different times, ;)£S i6s. -jd." Sir Henry Sydney 
seems to have visited Shrewsbury almost every year when he 
was in England. In 1568 he and the Council issued a decree 
for the settlement of great disputes relating to corporation 
elections; in 15 71 he was entreated by the shearmen to give 
them help against the drapers, and in 1572 arrangements were 
made to give him a present of ^£6 13^. 4^. on his next visit. 

This took place in 1573, and was an occasion of much im- 
portance to the town. On his arrival, eighteen " chamber peeces " 
were shot off in a " ryaltie," or show at a "voyde place under 
the Wyld Copp joyning into Master Sherer's howse ; and also 
a lytell from the same at the foot of the Wyld Copp was an 
excellent oracion made unto him by one of the scollers of the 


Free Scoole." The purpose of his coming was that, in company 
with the Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, he might cause the 
churches to be reformed after the queen's injunctions. The 
result of their efforts is recorded thus : " This yeare the 
mynysters in the churches of Shrewsberye against Chrystmas 
dyd all weare theire cross-capps and white syrplesys, exercising 
the protestant religion, which long tyme before dyd leave them 
of [off] contrarie to the Queene's injunctions." A noteworthy 
visitor in 1573 or 1574 was Sir Philip Sydney, once a scholar at 
the Free School and now just returned from foreign travel. He 
came with his father, and received a present of wine, cakes, etc. 

In 1 58 1 Sir Henry Sydney, being a Knight of the Garter, 
kept the Feast of S. George at Shrewsbury with great splendour. 
On April 15th is a note of his intention, and a resolution that 
the town shall give him a fat ox. A festal service was held 
at S. Chad's, where the stalls were decorated with the arms of 
the knights. In the evening the Lord President kept open house. 
A week later he was entertained by the masters of the free 
school with a banquet in the school garden, and the next day 
the head boy and captains of the school addressed him with 
speeches, promising that when they reached man's estate they 
would valiantly defend their country. On his departure by river 
on May 8th, an elaborate pageant was prepared. " In the island 
about a quarter-of-a-mile down stream a band of music was 
stationed with certain of the scholars apparelled in the guise 
of water-nymphs with green willows on their heads." In mourn- 
ful strains they lamented his departure, " the which," says the 
chronicler, " was done so pitifully that truly it made many to 
weepe ; and my lord himself to change countenance." Mirth 
rather than tears might have been moved by the verses, of which 
the chronicler gives the following specimen : 

"And wyll yo'' honor needs depart 
And must it needs be soe ? 
Would God we could lycke fishes svvyme, 
That we might with the[e] go." 

No less quaint is the account of the visit of the " right honour- 
able lady Mary Sidney" in 1584. She came in her wagon to 


the Council House, her husband arriving some days later ; " and 
as he passed in his waggons by the coondyt at the Wyld Coppe, 
were made two excellent orations by twoe of the Free Scoole 
Scollars, and so passed towards his ladye with his troompeter 
blowynge very joyfully to behold and see." 

Sydney's successor, the Earl of Pembroke, visited Shrewsbury 
in 1588, and mustered the townsfolk, both horse and foot. It 
was agreed beforehand that ^£^40 (raised later to ;!^5o) should 
be disbursed for his entertainment, j[^2o being allotted for 
a personal present. In 1589 Justice Shuttleworth and his 
wife came to Shrewsbury and received congratulations on his 
recent appointment as Chief Justice of Chester ; he repaid 
them by procuring that the Michaelmas Term of the Council 
should, much to the town's contentment, be kept at Shrewsbury. 
Much displeasure was evidently felt if the Council failed to 
resort annually to the town, or curtailed its stay. Under 1599 
is an entry to the effect that the Council came to keep term, " but 
they continued here but one tearme and departed hence, seal 
and all, 6th of July, the towne being worse rather than better for 
them, because they had made provision for them for two tearmes." 

During the two following reigns the Shrewsbury records say 
comparatively little about the Council. In 161 1 it was decided 
that the Lord President should be met by the bailiffs, the alder- 
men, and the common council " in their beste suytes next to their 
robes of scarlett, and the wardens of companyes likewise in their 
best gownes ; and that the Bailiffs and six men shall bestow 
such charges as they thincke best for enterteynment of my Lord 
President, his lady and the rest of the Council." The slight 
disrespect shown by the words italicised is more marked in the 
next entry on the same subject in 1611-12 (January 23rd): 
"Aggreed that a gratuyteye not exceeding 20 nobles be 
bestowed on the Right Honourable the Lord President, if it 
please him to keepe Lent term next in this towne, or els not.^^ 
The same feeling is shown in the appointment of the six men 
(in 1613) as stewards for the over-seeing of the expenses for 
the Lord President's entertainment. Irritation against the 
Council had evidently spread even to Shrewsbury. 


In spite of this, the old custom of town contributions continued. 
Among the baiUffs' accounts is an interesting document showing 
how the matter was managed. The heading is : 

"To contribute towardes the enterteynm'te of my lord 
p[re]sident, 1615." 

Then comes the Hst as follows : 

" Drap[er]s .... 
Mercers .... 
Sherman .... 
Coruisers [i.e. Shoemakers 
Clothyers .... 
Glou[erJs .... 
Butchers .... 
Bakers and milnes [i.e. millers] 
Taylers .... 
Sadlers and smithes . 
Carpenters, Tylers, boyers [i.e. bowyers] 
Tanners ....... 

lij' V. 
iij' v^ 









A list of places near Shrewsbury follows, with the total contri- 
bution from each of the groups. Then come the names of 
various persons in the streets of Shrewsbury— ^.^. in " Mardoll," 
" frankwell," " Knockyn streete," Claremont, " doggelane," 
"Le stalles," " Shoplatch," "le wyld Coppe," "Baxter's Rowe," 
" Corne markett," and " dogg pole." The sum-total contributed 
is ;^55 13^. 11^. (Bailiffs' Accounts, Box X. 559). 

The preceding extracts, taken mainly from the Shrewsbury 
Chronicle and the bailiffs' accounts, show how much importance 
was attached, at any rate in the sixteenth century, to the favour 
of the Council. There are further indications of the somewhat 
peremptory tone adopted by members of the Council towards 
the borough authorities. The following letter from Thomas 
Leighton may serve as an example : 

" Shrewsbury MSS. 
" 2630. 

" Worship" Si""^ one of my Servantes having a Taffeta Doublet to 
be made gaue the whole stripe for the same to a lewde ffellow 



that wroght w"^ Thomas Connye, and nowe he being stoulne 
awaye hath paunde the said stuffe (as I am gyven to understand) 
w*'^ some one of the towne wherein yo" are officers. Wherefore 
I am to request yo" that there may be diligent search and 
enquiry made whoe hath the stuffe, the denyall of yt (as I take 
yt) ys w%in the Compas of ffellony — therefore I wold wish them 
that haue yt, looke to them selves for yf I fynde yt in anie mans 
Keapeing after you' publishing therof I will make their necks to 
Cracke yf lawe will admitt the same. And so hopeing yo" will 
use you"" endevo""* herein w^^ my hartie Comendacons I comyt yo" 
to god. Watlesburgh this xxiiif*^ of August 1598. 

" I wold not willingly p'cure anie mans troble yf I male haue 
the stuffe by way of Curtesey, otherwise I will use all the ex- 
tremytie I can, but I will haue the same. 

" You"" loving ffrend. 

" Tho: Leighton." 

William Leighton, again, writes to ask that the bailiffs will 
excuse from attendance at their Court a certain John Hassald, 
whom he needs as cook on his circuit.^ George Bromley writes 
to ask the bailiffs and schoolmaster to lease certain tithes to 
one of his servants ; any favour shown in this matter shall, he 
adds, be duly requited.^ Henry Townesend asked on behalf 
of his sister's man the freedom of the town and " lawfull fauor 
ffrom tyme to tyme in his honest behavior and well doinge." 
This somewhat vague request is made more explicit by the 
postscript, "My meanyng is by your ffavor he may have Licens 
to keepe a victelling howse." ^ Some years later the same writer 
begged that the trial of a case at Shrewsbury in which he was 
concerned might be postponed till his witnesses should be free 
to attend.* 

Occasionally the requests made by the members of the Council 
are not of a personal nature— ^.^. two of them pray that the 
" devotion and benevolence " of the town and liberty of Salop 
may relieve the inhabitants of Church Stretton, Avho in 1593 

' Shrewsbury MSS., No. 2621 (1582). » Ibid., No. 2621 (1584-5). 
* Ibid., No. 2621 (1584-5). ' Ibid., No. 2621 (1594). 


had suffered great losses by fire.^ Similarly, at the request of 
the Lord President, the sum of j[,^ 13^. 4^. was given to Mr. 
William Croft in consideration of his great losses. To provide 
the money, two new burgesses were admitted, and the surplus 
of their payments was to be used for the boarding and finishing 
of the new house.^ The same amount was granted at the 
Council's request to their own serjeant-at-arms ^ in consideration 
of his service in the queen's wars. Other entries may be 
quoted to show the closeness of the relations between the 
Council and the borough — e.g. in August, 1568, the Council 
ordered the pressing of four brickmakers and two tilers to be 
set forward for Ireland, where they would be needed by the 
Lord Deputy Sir Henry Sydney.^ Another is the note : " Sol' 
Henrico Blakemere pro pictura proporcionis ville ostendend' 
Consilio domini Regis xij^.^ 

Among the other meeting-places of the Council, Hereford 
calls for some special notice. Among the undated papers in 
the city records is a letter from Ludlow Castle, in the name of 
Prince Edward, to the mayor, thanking him for furnishing twenty- 
four persons to be ready to attend on the prince to do his most 
dread lord and father the king service.^ This is one of the 
earliest, if not the earliest, contemporary records of the Council. 
Several letters are extant, addressed by the Council to the 
mayor, which deal with the enforcing of order — e.g. in 157 1 the 
Council sent on a letter received from the Privy Council, en- 
joining that on August 20th, September 12th, and October 12th 
next ensuing, from seven o'clock at night till three in the afternoon 
strict watch was to be kept in the whole shire for the appre- 
hension of all rogues, vagabonds, and sturdy beggars, who 
were to be punished "by stocking and sharp and severe 

' Shrewsbury MSS., No. 2621 (1593). 

- Hist. MSS. Commission, 15th Report, App., Pt, X., Shrewsbury MSS., 
f. 1926, 1577, October 13th. 
^ Ibid., 1571, April 23 (p. 16). 

* Ibid., p. 60, August 9th, 1568. 

* Ibid., p. 31. 

« Ibid., 13th Report, App., Pt. IV., Hereford MSS., p. 314. 


whipping."^ In June, 1584, the Council wrote in the queen's 
name to the Mayor and Justices of Hereford to the following 
effect : " Our Council in the Marches are informed that there 
are sundry outrages, "unlawful assemblies, banding of people with 
sundry kinds of weapons, as swords, bucklers, morris-pikes, d^gs, 
privy coats and other munitions and armour daily walking up and 
down the cities and towns in the country ' facing and brasing ' 
our quiet subjects, and specially in the city of Hereford many 
assaults, affrays, and tumults have been committed and no 
punishment hath ensued ; you are therefore to repair to the city 
on all market days, fair days etc. and to bind over all persons 
found culpable to appear before the Council." ^ Similarly in 
February, 1554, the Council ordered the mayor to see that 
due watch was kept nightly in the city, and that the gates 
were closed and kept safe in convenient time for " th'e 
[sjchowing [i.e. the eschewing] of the misorder that might 
ensue and for the apprehending of such as would attempt the 
same." ^ 

Among other letters is one ordering the suppression, in accord- 
ance with the queen's proclamation, of traitorous and slanderous 
books and libels, especially one against the Earl of Leicester (m'z. 
Parsons' Leicester's Commonwealth).* Another enjoins the 
observance of the queen's late proclamation for the reformation 
of the unreasonable excess of apparel, " whiche having of late 
yeres dailie encreased is nowe in thende growen to such extreme 
disorder as in no wise is any longer to be suffered." ^ Once the 
Council had been informed of the existence of plague at Hereford, 
and wrote to the mayor bidding him make proclamation that 
no one was to come from the city to Ludlow for the approaching 
fair without special licence, on pain of imprisonment. The 
mayor replied, evidently with some resentment, that he had 

* Hist. MSS. Commission, 13th Report, App., Pt. IV., Hereford MSS., 
July 25th, 1 57 1, p. 329. 

* Ibid., June 17th, 1584, p. 331. 

' Ibid., February 7th, 1554, p. 319. The Calendar has "the chouring." 

* Ibid., June 20th, 1584, p. 332. 

* Ibid., February 28th, 1 566-7, p. 329. 


fixed a copy of the Council's letter on a post in the market-place, 
in accordance with directions, but that, after conferring with his 
brethren, he had found few instances of recent death from any 
kind of disease, "so that who soever dyd gyve unto you any 
other knowledge is not a just man." ^ The Council certainly 
exercised a good deal of supervision over the city affairs, »s is 
seen by an order of February 9th, 1554, that the mayor should 
deliver to two persons named (chosen as wardens of the corpora- 
tion of goldsmiths, blacksmiths, cutlers, plumbers, glaziers, 
braziers, pewterers, and cardmakers) the charter of the said 
corporation and the stock belonging to it.^ As in the Shrews- 
bury MSS., notices occur of requests for postponement of 
suits in the city — e.g. in a case of debt for four silver spoons 
against Edmund Scrope, one of the clerks in attendance on the 
Council : the reason given is that he cannot appear at short notice. 
As late as 16 19 the connection between the Council and 
Hereford continued. In that year the mayor and some Justices 
of the Peace complained to the Privy Council of the opposition 
offered by a common councillor, Philip Traherne, to the levy 
of a rate for procuring a fresh charter. As the matter came 
from a place " within the jurisdiction of the Marches of Wales," 
it was referred to the Lord President, the Earl of Northampton, 
and the Chief Justice of Chester, and Sir Henry Townesend. 
These were to call the parties before them and deal with the 
case according to their discretion. A month later the matter 
was again discussed at the Privy Council, who came to the 
conclusion that it ought to be settled among the parties con- 
cerned; that Traherne, formerly disfranchised, ought to be 
reinstated, and that the mayor and common council should 
arrange for the assessment of the amount expended (over ^300). 
If by " amicable and friendly treaty and conference among them- 
selves " the matter could not be settled, it was ordered that 
the Lord President and Council of the Marches " shall enterpose 
their authority and assistance for ending of the same either by 

' Hist. MSS. Commission, 13th Report, App., Pt. IV,, Hereford MSS., 
November nth, 1556, p. 328. 

* Ibid., February 9th, 1554, p. 319. 


course of Justice, or otherwise as they shall finde expedient for 
the good peace and quiett of that Citty." ^ 

The most curious entry in the Hereford MSS. relating to the 
Council of the Marches is certainly the account of preparations 
for the visit received in the winter of 1556-7.^ The authorities 
resolved that " ther be preparid within that citie of Hereford 
the fairest house and of most easment whiche requirithe to 
have one lodginge for my lord with ij severall roromes [sic] for 
himsealf, one chamber for his gromes, and one chambre for 
his apparell if this may be." Additional lodging had to be pro- 
vided for three of the Council, the steward, the gentleman-usher 
or harbinger, the usher of the hall, the butler, pantler, porter, 
etc. This, it was reckoned, would mean " xxx^^® feather bedds 
with all thinges belonginge to the same for my lord, the counsaill, 
and their men at the lest." Other items in the list of requisites 
are: "6 hogsheads or 10 barrels of good beer, 10 large wain 
loads of good fuel to be taken from the Queen's wood, stables, 
hay, provender and litter for 20 horses or more, and grass for 
60 geldings and nags or more." In the way of furniture is set 
down : " Item viij large table clothes, iiij towels, iiij cupurd 
clothes, vj dosine of napkines and xxx*'^ candillsticks ether of 
pewter or latten as you may gett them." Then comes a list 
of pots and pans, platters, dishes, and saucers, down to the 
buckets and tubs for carrying water. Various persons were 
called upon to provide the lodging utensils just mentioned. 
The Treasurer and Chancellor of Hereford Cathedral between 
them were to entertain the Lord President, the Councillors, and 
some of their attendants, fourteen beds being provided in the 
Cathedral Close. Other leading citizens were to find beds in 
their houses, and, in some cases, furniture as well. Others, 
again, were to provide furniture only — e.g. the mayor was to 
find "a bedde of dowle, a bolster, two pyllywers with pyllowe 
beres, a peyr of ffustyan blankettes, a peyre of shettes, a fether 
bed." Another citizen was to provide the humble but useful 

• Council Register, Vol. IV. (James I.), under dates October 27th and 
November 27th, 1619. 

« Hereford MSS., pp. 323, 324. 


gridiron ; another, four candlesticks ; and yet another was to find 
" two arryes clothes." 

In all probability similar arrangements would be made for 
the Council's visits to other places in the Marches, where they 
were not provided with any permanent place of residence. 

Some references to the Council occur in the Chester MSS. 
Their fewness is explained by the fact that, as noticed above, the 
city was exempted from its jurisdiction in the reign of Elizabeth. 
In August, 1562, the Council issued a warrant to the mayor 
for the due execution of certain wilful and murderous perjurers, 
who were to be paraded through the streets of the city " from 
the porter's lodge to the shire (hall) and back to the same lodge 
through the market place." ^ In May, 1569, the Earl of Leicester 
wrote to Sir Hugh Cholmondeley, Vice-President of Wales, 
and to three others, bidding them repair to Chester and inquire 
into the causes and extent of the alleged decay of the city. 
Nearly two years later (April, 157 1) the Commissioners reported 
to the earl that "the citizens in tymes past have bene in great 
wellth and habilitie and at this present are in great and pytifuU 
decay and without help will assuredly goe to utter ruyne and 
beggery." The principal link of the Council with Chester was 
of course the fact that the Chief Justice of that city was the 
most important member of the Council. 

This chapter may be concluded by quoting a few references 
from the Bridgenorth MSS. These are mostly entries of presents 
or payments for bell-ringing — e.g. "in 161 8 a potte of metheglyn, 
price \2d. and a potte of sack and a potte of claret wine, price 
3^. 4^."'' In 1608 the charges "bestowed on my Lord President 
and his Lady" amounted to j[^2'j ^s. M.^ — a considerable sum 
for so small a place. One entry belonging to the later days 
of the Council is worth quoting in full ; one would like to 
know the rights of the case : " Resolved that the information 
preferred by the Kinge's Majesties Attorney of his highnes 
Counsell in the Marches of Wales against the foresaid Bayliffes 

' Hist. MSS. Commission, Report VIII., App., Chester MSS. 
2 Ibid., Report X., Pts. 3, 4, Bridgenorth MSS., pp. 432-3. 
' Ibid., p. 432. 


of this town, whereby they are charged with Hcensinge of 200 
alehowses and 40 budgers of corne and graine and other pro- 
visions, and for sufiferinge and not suppressinge 100 unlicensed 
alehowses in the s^ towne shalbe answered, and the charge in 
answering and defending that suit shalbe born at the generall 
charge of the town" (March 15th, 1633-4).^ 

' Hist. MSS. Commission, Report X., Pts. 3, 4, Bridgenorth MSS,, 
p. 429, f. 570. 



The scantiness of the material for the early history of the 
Council in the Marches prevents any detailed description of 
its procedure before the reign of Henry VIII. Among the 
Shrewsbury MSS. are several documents of the years 1511 and 
1512, which show the forms used for stay of action and discharge 
of suitors in the bailiffs' Court, and for direction to the baihffs 
to examine a bill of complaint and report on it to the Council. 
These documents are all headed, '' By the King," and after the 
dating clause the words are added, " And the Lord p'sident and 
Counsaile in the Marches of Wales," or, in one case, " By the 
Kinges Commissioners being at Ludlowe." 

The instructions to the Princess's Council in 1525 give full 
details as to the procedure to be followed in the execution of 
the various commissions mentioned. In executing the Com- 
mission of Oyer and Terminer they were first of all to issue 
to the Sheriff of Gloucestershire process of venire facias, sum- 
moning jurors of the shire to appear before them to inquire of 
all felonies and other offences mentioned in the Commission. 
On the day of the sessions, which were to begin at 9 a.m., or 
soon after, the Commission was to be read in Latin by the clerk 
of the peace, and the tenor explained by one of the Com- 
missioners. Oaths were then to be administered to the 
" inquests," and they were to be charged to give their verdicts 
with all speed, after which the Commissioners were to see that 
each indictment was good and sufficient in law, so that pro- 
ceedings might at once be taken against the parties therein 
mentioned. A similar course was to be followed in executing 



the Commission of offices and patents. The Sessions of Oyer 
and Terminer were to last for eight or ten days (Sundays being 
ahvays excepted) in each county within the Commission. Any 
person disobeying or disregarding the Commissioners' orders 
was to be attached by the sheriff, mayor, constable, bailiff, or 
other fitting officers, and sent either to the king or to the 
Council at Westminster, or kept elsewhere in safe custody as 
seemed advisable. The procedure in suits arising out of a bill 
of complaint was to be as follows : the person complained 
of was to be sent for by a letter missive under the king's signet 
to answer to the charge against him. If he failed to appear, 
he was to be compelled by letters of attachment addressed 
to the sheriff, constable, etc. 

The Council was to attend daily to the reading and answering 
of bills ; their answer was to be endorsed on the bill by the 
clerk, and declared to the party suing. No member was to be 
a party in any matter before the Council, unless it actually 
concerned himself, in which case he was not to be present 
during the hearing. Each Councillor was to be at liberty to 
give his opinion, and " no person of them shall conceaue in- 
dignacion, displeasure or wrathe against any other of his com- 
pany for sayeinge his advise purposed in the same whome that 
euer it touche." No one was to remain in the Council during 
its deliberations except sworn members or persons specially 
summoned. Decrees, etc., were not to be passed unless at 
least three of the Council were present, in addition to the Lord 
President, or, in his absence, four at least, the chancellor or 
some other chief officer being one. Decrees were to be re- 
corded by the clerk of the Council. Matters of special import- 
ance were not to be proceeded with, but referred to the king 
or the Privy Council. Nothing was to be regarded as assented 
to unless at least three Councillors and an officer agreed, and 
their assent was not to be effectual unless they formed a majority 
of the members present. Any bill that passed was to be sub- 
scribed (either in the meeting-place of the Council or elsewhere) 
by the Councillors responsible for it. In case of difference of 
opinion, the matter under discussion was to stand over till the 


next meeting, when it was to be decided according to the view 
of the majority. The clerk of the Council was to be bound 
by oath, that in settling the order in which bills of complaint 
should be presented to the Council, he would as far as possible 
give priority to the bill of the poorest suitor ; those learned in 
the law were " to geue the poore man assistance and true 
Counsayle in his matters so to be sued without any goodes 
takeinge of him upon paine of dischardgeinge him or them of 
their offices." 

Further details as to procedure may be gathered from the 
various books of instructions, especially those to Sir Henry 
Sydney in 1574 and to the Earl of Pembroke in 1586. The 
clearest statement, however, is that drawn up by the Earl of 
Pembroke during his first term of office. It includes a list 
of the officers of the Court, from the Chief Justice downwards, 
with full details as to fees, and strictures on the various abuses 
that had crept into the Court. This is followed by a list of 
" th' entries and formes of the awarding of all maner of process, 
Commissions and suchelike in all matters and cawses there and 
of the whole course of their proceedinges in the same, in suche 
sorte as they are usually entred and set downe in the originall 
Recordes therof" — viz. 

Proces of c" upon A I're to the defendante to appere the daie 
the bill of com- ^ .... 

plainte exhibited. of to answere upon pame of c^^. 

Proces of con- fforasmuche as A. B. hath deposed that he 

*^""P'^* aboute daies before the retourne of hir 

jj^^ties i^gj. j' Qf ^x deliuered the same to the 
defendante and for that the defendante appeared 
not accordingly, but disobeyed etc. Therefore 
a I're to the said defendante, recyteng his con- 
tempt, to appere the daie of nexte to 

answer as well to the matter as to his contempte, 
upon paine of allegeance. 
Proces of Procia- fforasmuche as C. D. hath deposed that he 

™^^°°' aboute daies before the retourne of hir 

highnes I'res of allegeance aboue menc'oned 


Proces of pro- 
clamac'on of re- 
bellion with attache- 

Proces of attache- 
ment with seques- 

L'res Placardes. 

deliuered the same to the defendante, who 
appered not etc., Therfore a I're to the Signet 

(Sheriff ?) of the Cowntie of to make pro- 

clamac'on in places conuenient within his office 

for the apparance of the defendant the daye 

of nexte to answer etc. Letting him to 

witt yf He then make defalte of apparance, he 
thenceforthe shalbe taken a Rebell, and the 
Sherif to certefy etc. upon payne of c". 

fforasmuch as it appereth by the certifikat 
annexed sent to this Counsaile from the Sherif 

of the Countie of whereby it appereth 

that he hath fully executed the tenour of the 
same l'res of proclamac'on etc. Therefore a 
I're eftsoones to the said Sherif, not only to 
proclaime the defendante a Rebell etc., But 
also him to apprehend and him to bring or 

send to this Counsell the daie of etc. 

and to certifie etc. 

fforsmuche as it appereth by the certificate 
annexed sent to this Counsaile from the Sherif 
etc. That he hath not only proclaimed the 
Defendant to be a Rebell, But alsoe hath 
made serche for him etc. and him cannot 
fynde etc. Therfore a I're to the said Sheryf 
not only tomake serche for the defendante, But 
also to sequester into his handes to her ma^^^^ 
use all suche landes, tenementes, goodes, 
cattells etc. as the defendante hath within his 
office, and the same to deteyne with the meane 
profittes ther of. And to certefye etc. 

fforasmuch as it appereth by the certificat 
annexed from the Sherif etc. that the defendante 
hath not any landes or goodes etc. within his 
office etc. Therefore l'res placardes be graunted 
unto the gentlemen subscribed to make serche 
for the defendante and him to apprehend etc. 


Like I'res This 
of course is to be 
graunted upon any 
of the former I'res 

Hit ma"" Letters 
of sondrie natures 
upon a bill ex- 


The titles or 
names of sondry 
enformac'ons and 
billes of complainte 
exhibited to the 
right honorable the 
Lo : President and 
others hir ma"" 
counsaile in the 
marches of Wales, 
with the first proces 
unto them seuerally 
graunted by said 
Lo : President and 
Counsaile as fol- 

and forth with upon his apprehenc'on to bring 
or send to this Counsaill etc. comaunding all 
officers etc. to be aydeng the said gentlemen 
in execuc'on of the premisses, etc. 

fforasmuche as nothing was donne in th' 
execuc'on of hir ma*'"^** former I'res, Therfore at 
the plaintiffes humble suite like I'res as the 
former were be directed to the defendante to 
appere etc. 

fifor matters of debte, non-saving harmless, 
and suche like of small moment sometyme a 
Commission is directed unto gentlemen of 
credit, to ende the same with out a Retourne, 
or with retourne, as to the said Courte it shalbe 
thought meete. 

Alsoe sometymes proces is directed for those 
causes and for diuerse other matters to bynde the 
defendante ther apparance in this Courte upon 
affidavit made or some other iust cause shewed. 

Sometymes for the removing of a force, proces 
is directed to the Sherif and Justices of Peace 
to remove the same according to the statute. 

Likewise proces is sometymes directed unto 
the Sergeant at armes and purseuantes for the 
bringing into this Courte of disobedient persones 
and sometymes for other greate matters as 
occason requyreth. 

The order of endorcement whereupon hir 
Ma"®^ I'res are directed for the apparance of 
the defendante. 


Riotes, Rowtes, 
unlawful! assemblies 


fforgery and pro- 
curing therof. 

Periury and pro- 
curing thereof. 

Imbeselling of 
Recordes out of this 

Forfecting o f 
bandes taken to hir 
ma"''^ use in this 

Seruing of false 
billettes by colour 
of proces out of this 

Regrating and 

Droving etc. 


wrongful! impri- 


Affrayes etc. 


Actons by e7iforma(^on 

A I're to the defendante to appere the 

dale of next to answere upon paine of c". 

A I're to the defendante to appere ut supra. 
A I're to the defendante to appere as before. 








All these with diuerse other matters upon penall statutes th' 
enformers are enioyned in x^^ to prosequute. Somtymes proces is 
directed unto some gentlemen of credit to bynd the defendantes 
in the matters before menc'oned for their apparance before the 
Lo : President and Counsaile upon affidauit made, or some other 
iust cawse shewed. The tenor of which proces ensueth. A I're 
to the gentlemen subscribed or to any one of them to make serche 
for the defendantes and them to bynde by seuerall obligac'ons 
in the summe of xP' a yeare to her ma^'*^® use with sufificient 

sureties for their personall apparance in this Courte the daie 

of to answer, And at their apparance not to departe with- 
out the speciall licence of this Counsaile. And yf they refuse 
to enter into the said bandes then to committ him or them so 


refusing to warde to the nexte gaole there to remaine untill he 
or they be conformable to enter into the said bandes. And the 
said gentlemen of their doinge herein to certefy etc. 

Acdons by bill of complainte 
Breache of your A I're to the defendante to appere the 

LoP' order or of an ^ ^f ^g^^^ ^^ aunswer to the breache 

order taken by Com- ■' 

missioners by Com- of th' order within signed, upon paine of c^^ 

mission from this 


Debtes without A I're to the defendante to paye unto the 
specialtie. plaintiffe the some of money by him or them 

in demaund according to iustice or else to 
appere to an s were upon paine of c". 
Execuc'ons. A I're to the defendante to satisfye the 

plantiffe of thexecuc'ons in demaund accord- 
ing to Justice, or else to appere to answere 
upon paine of c". 
Mariage money. A I're to the defendante to pay unto the 
plaintiffe the marriadge money in demaunde 
according to Justice or else, etc. 
Non-saving A I're to the defendante to saue the plaintiffe 
arme ess. harmeless, touching the matter him and the 

defendante in trauerse, according to iustice, 
or else, etc. 
Non-sealing a A I're to seale and deliuer unto the plaintiffe 
specia le. ^^ specialty in demaunde according to Justice, 

or else, etc. 
Non-cancelling a A I're to the defendante to deliuer to the plain- 
being dLchSgeT' ^iffe the band in demaunde to be cancelled, 
or a sufficient acquittance in discharge therof, 
according to Justice, or else, etc. 
Wager of Law. A I're to the officers within named to admitt 

the plaintiffe to his wager of lawe in the acc'ons 
within specified yf by order of law he ought 
to be thereunto admitted, as to the contrary 
they will answer at their perill. 


Reteyning of 

goodes, cattells, 
corne and hows- 
hold stuffe. 

Deteyning of eui- 
dence uncertaine. 



Compulsory for A I're to the wittnesses to appere at the 
wittnesses. courte within menc'oned when they shalbe 

therunto by the plaintiff requyred to testefye 
the trothe of their Knowledge in the matter 
within specified, upon the plaintiffe's behalf, 
costes and charges upon paine of c^\ 

A I're to the defendante to deliuer to the 
plaintilfe the goodes etc. in demaunde, 
according to Justice, or else to appere, 

A I're to the defendante to deliuer to the 
plaintiffe the euidences in demaund according 
to Justice, or else, etc. 

A I're to the defendante to satisfye the 
plaintiffe of the legacies in demaund accord- 
ing to Justice, or else, etc. 

A I're to the defendante to satisfie the 
plaintiffe for his cattelles in demaund according 
to Justice, or else, etc. 

A I're to the defendante to appere the day 

of nexte to answer and shew their cawse 

of suite upon paine of c^'. 
Tytle of Common. A I're to the defendante to permitte and 
suffer the plaintiffe quietly to occupye and 
enioye his common in demaunde according to 
Justice, or else, etc. 

A I're to the defendante to caste open the 
common in trauerse, or else, etc. 

A I're to the defendante to deliuer to the 
plaintiffe the cattelles in demaunde according 
to Justice, or else, etc. 

A I're to the defendante to deliuer to the 
plaintiffe the cattelles in demaunde upon the 
plaintiffe's band in xx^' with sufficient suretie 
for redeliuering of the same to the defendante 
yf upon examinac'on of the matter it shalbe soe 
ordered by the Lo : President and Counsaile, 

Serving of sub- 
penas and other 




Impownding of 


and for that extent the defendante to appere 
to answere, etc. 

A I're with the bill therein closed are directed 
unto the gentlemen subscribed to call before 
them the plaintiff and defendant for due ex- 
aminac'on of the matter within menc'oned. And 
thereuppon by their good meanes and wisdome 
with the parties assente fynally to ende the 
same yf they so can. And yf they cannot so 
do, through the obstinacie of the defendante, 
Then they to prefixe the defendante so obstinate 

of apparance in this Courte the daye of 

nexte to answer, etc. And to certefye, etc. 

There be diuerse 
other billes exhi- 
bited to the Lo : 
President and Coun- 
saile whereuppon 
proces are graunted 
from tyme to tyme 
as the cause re- 

Sometyme for 
these matters of 
debte, m a r i d g e 
money, non saving 
harmeless, deteyn- 
ing of goodes etc. 
and suchehke causes 
of small valuea com- 
ission is directed 
to some gentlemen 
of credit to end this 
controuersie. The 
commission is of 
the tenor hereafter 

Yf the matter be 
of small value and 
not worthie th' ex- 
aminac'on in this 
Courte, then this 
Comission is with- 
out Retourne. 

Yf these cawses 
be of great impor- 
tance, Then upon 
Affidauit that the 
defendante is a 
fugityue and a con- 
temptuous persone, 
proces is sometymes 
graunted for to 
bynde the defen- 
dante of apparance. 

Examples of many of the proceedings mentioned above occur 
in the Shrewsbury MSS., in the correspondence between the 
Court of the Marches and the town bailiffs. The following may 
serve as samples of petitions addressed to the Council : 


Yf the defendante do not appere according 
to the proces aboue menc'oned, Then upon 
oathe taken, that the defendante was therewith 
serued, proces of contempt is awarded against 
him. And so upon his further disobedience, 
the proces first aboue mencioned are directed 
against the defendante in order as they are 
placed unto I'res placardes, excepte upon some 
speciall reason to the contrary. 


•' To the Quenes Ma**'" Counsaill for the M'ches of Wales. 

" Complayninge shew*''^ unto yo"" good Lordeships yo'' orator 
Richard Manninge al's Braband of the towne and countie of 
Salop Taylo"" nowe p'sent that whereas one Will'm Piers of the 
same towne and com' of Salop' m'cer [i.e. mercer] is and standeth 
duely indetted unto yo*" said orato'' in the some of fyftie shillinges 
of Lawfull money of England for workemanshipe of app'ell to 
hym and to his servantes made at his com'aundem^ upon his 
promes to paie yo"" said orato'' for the sayd workemanshipe at 
dyu'se and sondry tymes, paiable at daies past, And albeit yo"" 
said orato"^ dyu'se and sondry tymes requested paym't of the said 
some, yet the deff'. beinge an uniust p'son utterly refuseth to paie 
the same w'ch is against all right, equitie and iustice and to yo'' 
orato" expresse wronge. And for that yo"" said orato"" wanteth 
specialty to chardge the defendant w%all at the comen Lawe and 
thereby remedyles, maye it therefore pleas yo'^ Lordeships to 
comaunde the said defendant (beinge p'sent) tanswer fo"" godes 

" Ex-- per Th. Evance." 

The petition is followed by a bill showing the various sums 
due — e.g. 

" It. for makyng of your hose eggyd vv. sarsnett . . ij= vj'^. 
It. for lynyng the Coller of your Cloke . . . vj*. 
It. for makyng of your satyn sleues and mendyng 

the bodes [sic] viij*." 

The second petition deals with more serious matters : 
" To the Quenes ma*^^ Counsaill in the m'ches of Wales. 
" In his most humble wise sheweth unto yo'' L. yo*" orator 
Richard Dryhurst servant and attendaunt upon the worshipful! 
Henry Towneshende esquier, one of the same. That wheras the 
same yo'' orator aboute xen of the Clocke of saturdaie the xxij*** 
of this moneth at night in gods peace and the quenes mat^ 
(having no kind of weapons aboutes him), did accompany and 
send one John Dryhurst gent, his uncle ou' the welshe brydge 

' Shrewsbury MSS., No. 2621. The year is 1570. 


of this Towen of Salopp towardes his lodginge in franquell 
mett one lewes Gwyn gent, one of his felowes at the same gatte 
passinge ou' the same bridge, and as he there in frendely sorte 
bade good night to his said felowe throughe the wicked [st'c] of 
the gatte ouer viij'' of the waitchmen appoincted to waithe the 
same night in this Towne of Salopp arrogatinge some promynence 
to them selfes or otherwise incurradged and set one by some of 
thoccupiers of this towne who do maUgne the Company attend- 
inge the same Counsaill to haue mischeif or murther one of the 
company and therby to terrifie the rest as heartofore they haue 
attempted the Hke upon sundry others of the same Company who 
likewise narowly escaped their handes, in most despitfull and 
arrogant soret [sic] as yo"" orator passed by them havinge bydden 
good night to his said felowe ane of the said waithmen then 
p'ntlie (i.e. presentlie) and fyercly p'essed (i.e. pressed) towardes 
yo'' orator and tooke hold in him by the CoUer, and said I will 
make they geve us also good night and therupon w^** his fyst 
strake yo'' orator ou' {i.e. over) the eye upon the face a great 
blowe [till he was black and blewe] and ymediatlye the rest 
of the watchmen w*'' their waithinge weppons thrusted, feyned 
and strake at yo"" orator and one of them with his gleave thrust 
yo' orator into the belly through his dowbled and shurte that 
verey narowly he escaped his lief and gave unto yo*" orator diu'se 
other blowes or strokes and had bene vere like to haue murthered 
yo'' orator [and not so contented hayled and puled yo'' orato'' 
towardes the kayge swearing grete othes that there he shuld 
remaigne that night like a roge]. Whiche offence deserveth 
Correcc'on in example of others and to advoid further inconvenienc 
like to ensue wherefore and to thende the offendo^'s may be 
Knowen and ponished, may yt pleas yo"" L. to graunt Com'ission 
to the baylif of this Towne and Thomas sheirer gent. Chief 
Cler. attendinge this Courte or to any two of theim, wherof the 
said Mr. Sherer to be on ^ to Call before them the said waithmen 
appoincted for that night and them to examien upon their othes 
and therby and by all otheir wayes and meanes they cane to 
learne and trie out who were the same offenders and suche 

' Sc, one. 


as they finde culpable to baile of apparaunc before yo' L. 
furthwith t'answere herunto to thende suche order may be taken 
w'th them as to yo'' L. shall be thought good, and thus for 
gods love." ^ 

The following is an order to the bailiffs to deliver to the 
porter of the Council the bodies of two persons suspected of 
treason : 

" By the Quene. 

" Right welbiloued we greate yo" well. And woU and comaunde 
yo" furthew^'^ to deliuer unto the Porter attending our Counsaill 
in our marches of Wales or his sufficient deputie the bodye of 
one Margaret wief to Richard Gruf (?) remayning in your warde 
upon suspic'on of Treason, not failing hereof upon payne of c^', 
yeven under o*' Signet At o*' Castle of Ludlowe the vij*-^ dale of 
November the xij^^ yere of o"" raigne. 

" And her ma*^^ Counsaill 
" In the Marches of Wales. 

" Regina. 

" To our right belbeloued the Bailiffes of our Towne of 
Salopp." 2 

The following is an order to the bailiffs to discharge a person 
from their custody at Shrewsbury : 

" By the Quene. 

" Right welbelouid we grete yo'* well. And woU and comaunde 
yo" furthw*^** to dischardge Oliuer ap Dauid of the acc'on of 
detynewe comenced against him by John pavior in the court 
of yo*" aucthoritie as highe as c markes. And to enlardge him 
out of yo'' ward where he nowe remayneth to his libertie 
according to the auncient p'viledge of our Court w*** our Counsaill 
in our m'ches of Wales, ffaile ye not herof upon paine of c^*. 

• Shrewsbury MSS., No. 2621. The date is 1583 or 1584. The words 
in brackets are additions to the original petition. 
^ Ibid., The year is 1570. 


Yeven und"" o*" Signet at o'' Towne of Salopp the xvj*'* daie of 
June the xij*''^ yere of o*" Reigne. 

"And her ma^*^^ Counsaill 

" In the m'ches of Wales. 

"Oliuer ap Dauid. 

"To o"" right welbeloued the Bailieffes of our Towne of 
Salopp." 1 

The most complete extant record of a suit before the Council 
appears to be that respecting the town tolls of Shrewsbury in 
1598-9.^ The case is of general interest as throwing much light 
on municipal affairs at that date ; it has also a special interest 
in that it preserves the actual depositions of witnesses before 
Commissioners appointed by the Council. 

The origin of the suit was as follows : On February i8th, 
1597-8, the petitioner, Edward Pickstock, servant to Mrs. 
Alexander Wood (tenant of Black Abbey, near Shrewsbury, the 
property of All Souls' College, Oxford), accompanied his mistress 
to Shrewsbury market. During the morning the bailiffs and 
their Serjeants walked through the market " to see good order 
kept, and to persuade such as then and there sold corn to sell 
the same at reasonable prices in this time of dearth." Finding 
that Mrs. Wood was selling her corn too dear, they remonstrated 
with her ; whereon she abused them roundly, saying they had no 
right to price her corn. They naturally retorted ; whereupon 
Edward Pickstock took up the cudgels on his mistress's behalf, 
saying that " she came not thither to buy wit nor to borrow 
wisdom " of the bailiff. After more wrangling, Pickstock was 
committed to the custody of one of the serjeants-at-mace, there 
to remain till he should find surety for his good behaviour and 
for his personal appearance before the Privy Council. This 
incident in itself would have had no importance, had it not 

• Shrewsbury MSS., No. 2621. 

^ For the transcript of this long case and for some valuable notes bearing 
upon it, I am indebted to the generous kindness of Mr. Phillips, of 


raised the question of the right of the corporation of Shrewsbury 
to exact toll from all persons bringing goods into the town. 
Pickstock's master, Alexander Wood, held that he was exempt 
from such payment in virtue of a charter granted by Henry VI. 
to All Souls' College. It would seem that Wood made use of 
his servant's imprisonment to test this supposed right, and in all 
probability he was backed up by his landlord, the college. 

The proceedings in this suit fill seventy-nine sheets, mostly 
written on both sides. They begin with Pickstock's petition to 
the Privy Council that his case may be examined by means of 
Justices of the Peace. A summary of this was sent by the Privy 
Council to the Chief Justice of Chester, Sir Richard Shuttleworth, 
together with a statement that the Justices of the parts near 
Shrewsbury had complained of the taking of excessive tolls. 
The Council of the Marches was to ascertain by what authority 
such tolls were levied, and to take order for their surcease and 
for Pickstock's liberation. Then follows the answer of the 
bailiffs, Thomas Burnell and Richard Cherwell, denying the 
allegations in Pickstock's petition and maintaining that he was 
" noted to be a common quarreller, drunkard, haunter of ale- 
houses, and a notorious disordered person." Pickstock's repli- 
cation deals with the question of excessive tolls, and alleges that 
the exactions and oppressions of the bailiffs and their officers are 
generally complained of in the county. Then follow the rejoinder 
of the bailiffs and the surrejoinder of Pickstock. On March 30th, 
1598, the first hearing of the case took place at Ludlow before 
the Earl of Pembroke ; it was adjourned till the following June, 
and in the meantime a letter was to be directed to four gentlemen 
to meet in the Booth Hall of Shrewsbury on April 27th, for the 
purpose of examining on oath the witnesses for both parties. 
The interrogatories administered to the witnesses produced by 
Pickstock were eleven in number — e.g. 

I. " Item, doe you knowe the said parties, the towne of 
Salop, three gates entringe into the said towne, the markett 
place therein, and howe longe haue you knowen them or euery 
or any of them ? " 

3. "Do you knowe or haue you crediblie heard that in 


auncient time past there was a farthinge paide for euery horselode 
or one strike of come at the coming in of the gates or one of 
theim of the towne of Salop and nowe a half peny, and for a 
waine loade of any maner of cariedg in time past a halfepeny 
and nowe a peny ? " 

The sixteen witnesses gave full evidence as to the practice 
of toll-taking both at the gates and in the market-place of Shrews- 
bury, and to the increase in the amount of toll within their 
memory. It would appear from their evidence that the price 
of corn at Shrewsbury had been so enhanced by heavy tolls 
that sellers preferred to take their corn to market elsewhere — e.g. 
Oswestry, Newport, Drayton, Bishop's Castle, and Wellington. 
Some witnesses admitted that they had bought corn at other 
market towns, and made a profit by selling it at Shrewsbury. 

Twelve interrogatories were administered to the sixteen 
witnesses for the defendants ; their evidence is less full than 
that for the plaintiffs, and deals mainly with the sale of corn 
by Elizabeth Wood at an excessive price. ^ 

On July loth the case was heard at Bewdley before the 
Council in the Marches ; it was decreed that unjustifiable tolls 
had been taken, and that in future none might be taken beyond 
a specified amount, which was to be made known by notices 
and proclamation. The next document concerning the suit is 
a letter from Thomas Owen to his brother Edward, one of the 
Commissioners, begging that the case might be heard afresh, 
seeing that the custom of taking toll for keeping the market 
clean prevailed in all the market towns of Shropshire, and in 
Lancashire and London too. This is followed by a letter from 
Sir Richard Shuttleworth to his "verie loving frends" of the 
Council, urging that the execution of the Council's order of 
July should be suspended till the case had been heard afresh. 
The charter granted to Shrewsbury by Henry VI. had in one 
instance been mistranslated, and certain accounts affecting the 
issue had not been heard in Court. Accordingly, on August 9th 
the Council wrote to the bailiffs bidding them appear on 

• The evidence of these witnesses shows the extreme difficulty of 
enforcing the statutes fixing the price of food. 


November i3thj for the re-hearing of the case and authorising 
them in the meantime to take the accustomed tolls, with due 
care not to commit any abuse against those coming to the 

This fresh hearing duly took place, and after consideration 
of "sundrie auncient graunts, charters, officers' accoumpts, ex- 
emplificac'ons and matters of record," the case was dismissed, 
the parties grieved being at liberty to seek their remedy else- 
where. The bailiffs triumphantly issued a proclamation making 
known the result of their suit, and ordering the payment of 
the accustomed tolls. The remaining proceedings are not clear. 
The Town Council wrote to the Council of the Marches asking 
that the injunction by which Wood was freed from paying toll 
might be removed. On January 28th, 1598-9, the parties again 
appeared before the Council, the matter of the tolls was heard, 
and dismissed to the common law. Full directions were given 
for the way in which the matter was to be brought to issue. 
At the same time the injunction of the previous July (in Wood's 
favour) was declared void to all intents and purposes. The last 
stage of the proceedings was reached on March 9th, 1598-9, when 
the case was heard before Justice Shuttleworth and the Council 
of the Marches ; but no record of their decision survives, nor 
does it appear why the case came again before them after it 
had been referred to the common law. 

This sketch of the Council's legal procedure may be appro- 
priately ended by the list of charges incurred by the town of 
Shrewsbury in the above case. The fees proper amount to 
j£^ 14s., and the expenditure on food, lodging, and gifts to 
j^g 135. 2d. The fees are certainly higher than those allowed 
by the instructions of 1574 (Clive, pp. 343, ef seqq.), but not 
very much higher considering the importance of the case. 

The item that strikes one as excessive is the " extraordinarie 
dinner," at a cost of 24s. 6d. ; but very possibly the money 
was well spent and helped to secure success.^ 

' For the expensiveness of Ludlow inns, see Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 
33.589, f- 3- 


Legal Charges. 

At Ludlow the ii"\ i2*''\ I3*''", 14*'^ I5^^ iG^''^ of November 
1598 for the townes cawse viz. for the Tolles and the staye of 

Ffirst unto Mr. MedHcott for his travaile in^ 
helping in serching all ye pleadings and 
depositions and drawing out breviats for 
bothe the cawses. 

Unto Jo. Bevion for writing up y*' Lardg bre-\ 
viate by Mr. Medlicott's motion contayning \ 
three sheets of pap"". / 

iiij Cownselors ffees in y® cawse of y® toles viz.l 
Mr. Lewis, Mr. Litleton, Mr. Medlicott 1- 

and Mr. Smith, every of y™ 10* 

ij Counselers ffees in the cawse of Twis viz. Mr.^ 
Morgan x" and Mr. Medlicott xx** in con- 
sideration of his speciall travaile to Ludow 
\slc\ w*'*' us onely for theas cawses. 

Mr. Edward Preese y^ Attorney his ffee for both^ 
cawses. J 

Unto Thomas Phelips and anothe, for writing^ 
3 of y*^ lardger breviats vj^ and for drawing j- 
y® oficall \sic\ order twise ij^. j 

The copie of the oficiall order under teste and^ 
for expidicton. / 

Unto Mr. Bothe in y° Coort for his paynes and^j 
helpe ij^ to y^ porters man for his favowre I 
for rome in y^ cort xij'' unto y® regester x, j 
Mr. Price xij'' unto the marshall iij^ viij''. ] 

Paid for a link 10'^, bestowed in wine on y^^ 
clarks of the signitt 2^ and on the cown-r 
selers clerks, 20". J 

Unto y^ Porters men for fetching Evans' wife^ 
to y^ coort. / 











Chard' of an extraordinarie dinner on Sunday^ 
for our learned cownsile, our Attorney and I 
owr owne whole companie and for wine and j 
after to the same and y*^ after noone. J 

All the other chardg of diett and horsmeat thear-^ 
the same time viz Mr. Baylie Perche and 
his servant, Mr. Burnell and his man, 
Mr. Edw. Owen and his man, Mr. Adam 
Mytton his sonne and man, being 9 p'sons 
and 9 horses. 

Extraordinarie wine the same time and some") 
gestes. j 

Fewell viz. Mr. Bayliffs chamber 2^ 9^*, Mr. 
Burnell and Mr, Owen 3* 6'^ and in 
Mr. Mytton's chamber where wee dined 
and supped some times, 4® 3^ 

Geven in rewards in ye howse at our coming) 
away. / 

Som of this bill is xv^' vi'f i}'^. 

Ther were to attend this business 
Mr. Baylie Perche, Mr. Burnell, Mr. Edw. Owen. 
Mr. Adam Mytton, one serjant and everie one 
their man. 


xxnij^ vy 


viy vny 


Edward Jones. John Perche. 

Roger Evans. 
Edward Lloyd. 
Wm. Hasillwall. 
Willm. Fawknor. 
John Downes. 



With regard to the finances of the Council a good deal of 
information is available in the form of warrants, accounts, and 
so forth. In the Council's early days its expenses were for the 
most part merged in those of the prince or princess on whom 
the members nominally attended. In the account of sums paid 
by the treasurer of the chamber and the cofferer for the 
household expenses of the Princess Mary from July ist, 1525, 
to December 31st, 1526, the following items occur: 

Expenses of the Councillors being out of Court on) ^ ^ , , 

• • \ £9^ 15-y- 9k^- 

commission. j ^^ j ^^ 

Wages and fees of the Councillors and others ^265 16-y. 8</. 

Buildings and reparations at Ludlow and Bewdelyi - , , 

in the Manor of TyknelU j^543 7s. ^d. 

But in 1511-12 (in the interval between the death of Prince 
Arthur and the coming of the Lady Mary to the Marches) 
the expenses of the Commissioners in Wales appear as a separate 
item, amounting to ;;^302 Zs. 3^., and in 15 19 is recorded a 
further payment of ;£'97 105-.- After the Lady Mary's with- 
drawal from the Marches, the Council's allowances seem to have 
been felt inadequate. In 1528 they informed Wolsey that the 
household had been reduced, and yet the diets amounted to 
great sums, owing to the dearth of grain. ^ Soon after this a 

' Madden, Privy Purse Expenses of the Princess Mary, p. XLIV. 
- Brewer, Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII., Vol II., Pt. II., 
p. 1449, and Vol. III., Pt. II., 1538. 
^ Ibid., Vol. IV., Pt. II., 3874. 



more regular system of allowances came into force, as is shown 
by entries to the following effect : 

Diets and extraordinary charges of the Commissioners \ 

in the Marches of Wales.' [^^285 l6s. od, 

(March 28th, 1530); 
To Thos. Hacluyt for the Commissioners in theN 
Marches of Wales for their diets and " foren 
expenses " in part payment of ;^694 2S. 6(i., to be - ;,^62 135. g^d. 
paid yearly. 

(May loth, i53o)> 
To the same Commissioners in further payment.^ ^80 os. od. 

Yearly fees, diets, etc., of the Commissioners in thel ^ , 

Marches of Wales (November 22nd, 1530).^ ]^ 

Order to the Treasurer of the Chamber and his suc- 
cessor for the payment of diets and wages of 
Roland, Bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, and 
others of the Council of the Wesh Marches. 

for Diet (per week), 1534 £\o os. od. 

„ foreign expenses per ann. 1535^ £66 13^, 4«f. 

It would seem, on the basis of the last two extracts, that the 
expenses of the Council amounted to ^586 ly. /[d., exclusive 
of fees. Bishop Lee, however, found his allowances inadequate, 
and in 1536 he reminded Cromwell more than once of the 
necessity of augmenting either the diet-money or the allowance 
for foreign expenses, " considering the great charges of appre- 
hending the multitude of these thieves."^ He had also to 
complain of the expense involved in the renewal of the 
commissions and warrants for diet, which amounted to ;^2o a 
year. Sir Brian Tuke (Treasurer of the Chamber) had to be 
given jQ^ ; his clerk, 26s. 8d. ; and, in spite of this, Lee's servant 
was kept seven or eight weeks in London waiting for the money.^ 
He urged the necessity of increasing the sums allowed, as the 

' Gairdner, Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII., Vol V., 
p. 318. 

2 Ibid., Vol. v., p. 319. 

3 Ibid., Vol. v., p. 322. 

< Ibid., Vol. VII. 1026 (28), and Vol. VIII. 149 (17). 
« Ibtd., Vol. X. 259, and Vol. XI. 1255. 
« Ibid., Vol. XII., Pt. II. 1094 (1537). 


Council was not able to " gratify " the loyal gentlemen of the 
country except at table. In another letter in the same year, 1537, 
he wrote that ^30 of his hardly won diet-money had to remain 
in London for New Year's gifts. His remonstrances had some 
effect, for the amount was now raised to j(^i^ 6s. Sd. a week; 
and in 1538 Sir Brian Tuke was ordered to pay ;£S-j^ 15^. lod. 
for the Council's expenses, this being the largest single amount 
for the purpose yet recorded.^ Soon after the issue of this 
warrant he wrote to Cromwell, describing the " good cheer made 
to the gentlemen that came to serve the King and Council," 
though he adds ruefully, " the cost was far above the commons 
of our diets." - During the remainder of Henry VIH.'s reign 
it seems to have been the normal practice to pay the sum 
of ^875 155. 10^. in quarterly instalments, though payments of 
smaller sums were frequently made.^ In 1540 Lee twice 
suggested to Cromwell that the warrant for diet-money might 
be directed to Mr. Gostwicke (Commissioner of First Fruits 
and Tenths), so as to save the expenses charged by Sir Brian 
Tuke ; but his suggestion was not adopted.* 

During the reign of Edward VI. it would seem that the 
Council's allowance was on much the same footing as in Bishop 
Lee's time. In Collins' Sydney Papers an account is given for the 
year 3 Edw. VI. ^ The whole sum allowed to the Commissioners 
for diet and all other charges was ;!^876 i^s. 6d., paid quarterly. 
The fees for ten Commissioners amounted to ;^95 (three at 
^13 6s. Sd. per annum, three at ;^io, three at ;^6 135'. 4^., one 
^^.£5)- Other fees amounted to ^29 iii'. 10^. This amount 
includes the fees of the two messengers (^2 each per annum), 
the fee of the armourer at Ludlow {^(^g 2s. 6d.), a payment to 
Wm. Austy for soliciting the Commissioners' causes at London 

' Gairdner, Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII., Vol, XII., 
Pt. II. 914 (ii), and Vol. XIII., Ft. I. 134. 

- Ibid., Vol. XIII., Pt. I. 152. 

' E.g. Ibid., Vol. XIII., Pt. II. 1280, ff. 2b, 6b, 18b, 28b, 35, 49; Vol. XIV., 
Pt. II. 781, ff. 576, 636, 74, 846, 906, 102b, 103 ; Vol. XVI. 380 and 1489 ; 
and Vol. XVII. 880, f. 24. 

' Ibid., Vol. XV., 398, 562 (2). 

5 Collins, Sydney Papers, Letters and Memorials of State, pp. 5i 6. 


(;^5), and the portage of the diet-money (;^5). It further includes 
a fee of ;£^ to the treasurer of the chamber " for making speedie 
payment of the said Diet-money and in good money," also a 
fee of 26s. Sd. to his clerk, and of 2s. Sa. to his porter. The 
words "and in good money" are significant, when it is re- 
membered to what an extent the coinage was debased at this 
time. The wages of sundry officers (steward of the household, 
cooks, butler, etc., eleven in all) amounted to ;^2o. A note is 
added as follows : " And it hath been used to allowe out of the 
Grosse Some aboue remembered towards the Diet of the said 
Commissioners weekly (that is to sale) for all Victualls, Fuell and 
Implements of Household ^13 6s. Sd. And also to allowe 
towards fforeyn Expences (that is to sale) for Rewardes, Carraiges 
and all other Charges not before remembred p.a. c marks." 

Early in Elizabeth's reign a change appears in the method of 
payment. The warrant for the Council's diet-money is now 
directed to the Receiver of North Wales, and this seems to have 
been the practice henceforth, though sometimes the Receiver of 
South Wales is substituted.^ 

During the years when Sir Henry Sydney was able to 
fulfil in person his duties as Lord President, the finances of 
the Council were managed in a business-like way. No debts 
were incurred, and considerable sums were expended on repairs 
at Ludlow and Tickenhill. The " note of the yerelie fiees and 
certayne chardges issweinge out of the fynes," shows the 
details of expenditure at this period, exclusive of diet. The 
fees of the secretary, two assistants or councillors, the queen's 
attorney and solicitor, the chaplain, the pursuivants, the armourer, 
the Keeper of Ludlow Castle, the keeper of the leads for the 
conduit bringing water to the castle, the auditor and clerk of 
the fines, amounted in all to ;^333 13^. 4^., and the foreign 
expenses (riding charges of the Justice and other Councillors, 
carriage of household utensils and repairs of Her Majesty's 
houses) amounted to ;^343 gs. 2d.^ 

• S.P.D. (Vol. 1547-80), Vol. III., Eliz., No. 14, p. 124, and S.P.D. 
(1625), p. 551, App., October 22nd. 
- Lansdowne MSS. 28, ff. 124-5. 


Further information may be gathered from a document in the 
Lansdowne MSS. which gives the details as to fines taxed by 
the Lord President's Council for the nineteenth to the twenty- 
fifth years of Queen Elizabeth.^ Thus, for the twentieth year, 
fines were taxed to the amount of ;;^i,o28 3^. ^d. ; payments to 
Commissioners and officers came to ^406 6s., extraordinary 
expenses to :^373 175. 2d., while fines were qualified to the 
amount of ^70 \6s. Sd. In the twenty-fifth year fines were 
taxed to the amount of ;^i,i4o igs. ; Councillors' and officers' 
fees came to ^173 17^. 3d., repairs at Ludlow to ^387 2s. ^d., 
at Tickenhill to ^59 14^. 4^., provision of household stuff to 
;;^i3o 7^., the expenses of the sergeant, messengers, etc., to 
;^48 bs. gd., and extraordinary expenses to ^2^3 5 3 i6i-. 10 d. 

Among the MSS. of Lord do L'Isle and Dudley is a paper roll 
about three feet long headed, "The Household of the Queen's 
Highness Councell of the Marches of Wales. A brief declaration 
of what my Lord hath spent of his own revenues concerning the 
diet and foreign charge of the said household above the Queen's 
allowance." There are accounts for the years 2 & 3 Eliz. (each 
ending at Easter) and for thirteen weeks of a third year ; the 
total given is ^^7,182 ic^s. g^d. (stable charges and riding 
expenses not included).- 

Sir Henry Sydney had certainly cause to lament his absence 
in Ireland so far as the state of things at Ludlow was concerned. 
It appears that on his return in the twentieth year of the queen's 
reign, he found the house indebted to the amount of over 
;;^i,5oo, though at his departure it had been quite clear of debt. 
Sydney found a lengthy list of creditors, for most of the officials 
connected with the Council seem to have suffered through delay 
of payment. Sir William Gerard had died, leaving his executors 
with a claim of ;^40o against the Council ; his colleagues. Sir 
Hugh Chomley, Sir Andrew Corbet, Henry Townesend, and 
others had claims varying in amount from ^100 to ;^5o. The 
steward fared worse : his claim was for ;!^2oo, and even the 

' Lansdowne MSS. 38, f. 99. 

* Hist. MSS. Commission, 3rd Report, App., p. 228 (MSS. of Lord de 
L'Isle and Dudley). 


armourer and pursuivants were credited with claims for 
jC^-i)^ 6s. and ;^3o respectively.^ Another list of debts gives 
a yet higher amount — viz. ;^i,385 6i-. %d. towards the payment 
of which there were arrears of fines amounting to ^{^1,128 \%s. 
Of these, however, the "good debts" were only ;^3oo, and the 
rest were " desperat by reason of the decease of th' offenders 
and the povertyes of such as be leavinge." The list of claimants 
for arrears is headed by the " Reuerend ffather the Bushopp of 
Worcester, vice-president of the Counsaill there (Bishop Whitgift) 
^34." In all, twenty-six creditors occur, among them the late 
bailiff's of Ludlow for the hire of bells.^ 

The indebtedness of the Ludlow household was, as mentioned 
above, one of the matters calling most urgently for reform after 
Sydney's death. The instructions of 1586 repeat with great 
emphasis the regulations previously laid down respecting the 
fines. After being taxed in open Court, all fines and forfeitures 
were to be entered in the register book and also in a book kept 
by the clerk of the fines. Every month or oftener the clerk 
of the fines, the register, and any officer in charge of any book 
or bonds in which any fine, debt, or other sum due to Her 
Majesty was mentioned, were to bring such books to the Lord 
President, Vice-President, or Council. After the porter and all 
other officials dealing with the fines had been examined, order 
was to be given for the levying of all fines unpaid, " to th'entent 
her Ma^i^ may be truly answered of the fynes from tyme to tyme 
and not to remayne in arrerage as now they doe wherby the 
counsaillors' fees for diuers yeres remayne unpayd in that the 
ffynes are not duly levyed." At the end of every term the Lord 
President and Vice-President with two others of the Council 
were to call the clerk of the fines before them, and see what 
fines had been paid and what not. A similar searching inquiry 
was to be held to ascertain the amount of the fines paid and due 

' Lansdowne MSS. 28, ff. 124-5 '< ^^^ ^°'^^ of debts is;^l,l6o 14s. i^d. (in 
MS. ;^i,i6o 17s. 4fi?.); cf, A.P.C., Vol. IX., p. 122. Request of Mr. Gerard 
for arrears of the entertainment allowed by the queen in the Marches 
(payment is five years behind). 

2 Ibid., Ill, ff. 21-4. 


throughout the year, " that the howse for want of due con- 
sideracion run not into debt (as of late tyme it hathe by suche 
default)." Every Hilary Term the Lord President and Council 
were to send up to the Privy Council a transcript of the year's 
accounts up to the preceding Michaelmas. The Privy Council, 
after declaring the amount to Her Majesty, was to send the 
transcript into the Exchequer, there to remain of record. No 
fine was to be qualified, and no penalty or forfeiture com- 
pounded for " but upon iust and resonable consideracion as 
well with regarde of the gretnes or habilitie of the offender and 
other behovefuU circumstaunces thereupon depending." Out of 
the fines were to be paid the Councillors' fees, necessary foreign 
expenses, and repairing expenses for the Queen's houses within 
Wales and the Marches.^ 

In spite of these stringent instructions, the old abuses appear 
to have continued or, rather, grown worse. In a document 
written perhaps by Justice Shuttleworth is a complaint that 
the diet-money is put in four men's purses through the non- 
attendance of Councillors, and that on one occasion no house 
was kept at all, the one member present being " putt to his 
boord wages att an Ordinary amongst Attorneys and Clarices." 
No accounts of the household expenditure were presented weekly 
as required by the instructions ; no book of forfeitures and fines 
was kept, and no account made at the end of every term. Fines 
were not strictly levied, but were " purloyned or vaynely bestowed." 
In one year ;^i8o had been spent in napery, and ^300 the 
next in bedding ; whether it were well bought the writer cannot 
tell, but " these and like colours carry all away." Many items, 
such as linen and " vessell " and officers' wages, should have 
been paid for out of the diet-money ; whereas it is alleged that 
the latter was appropriated by individuals, and payments made 
out of the fines. ^ 

Whether these complaints were exaggerated or not, it seems 
clear that the finances of the Council were in an unsatisfactory 
state. On December 1st Sir Richard Lewkenor and two other 

> Lansdowne MSS. 49, ff. 179-207, Arts. 42, 44-7. 
2 Ibid., 76, flf. 1416-9. 



members wrote on the subject to the Lord High Treasurer, 
Lord Buckhurst. With respect to the yearly audit, he suggests 
that the most convenient time for it to be taken would be between 
St. Andrew's Day and Christmas Day, when the Council members 
would not be away on circuit. They add that the Receiver 
of North Wales had kept back all the diet-money for more than 
a year, alleging that it should come out of fines and forfeitures. 
This, they point out, is not the case, and, even if it were, the 
fines would be insufficient to furnish both fees and diet ; every 
audit has proved that " her ma'tie hath heretofore every yere 
rather remayned in debt than otherwise." They ask for speedy 
direction to the Receiver of North Wales for immediate payment 
of ;^5oo, " or else the howse must of necessitie be presently 
dissolved, the same being already much in debtt, and hindered 
for want of the money to haue made provision of corne and 
victualles at the best hand, w'ch now must be bought at the 
dearest rates." ^ This request was backed up by a letter to the 
same effect from the Lord President Pembroke; he earnestly 
entreated Lord Buckhurst " for the redresse of this abuse by 
commaunding present satisfaction, that his Ma^"*^^ Counsell which 
for so many yeares I haue not only held without new debtes, 
but freed of old arrerages, may not fall now to such dishonorable 
necessitie as to fede on nothing but what they borow. For 
such indede is now that place's estate and dailie must be worse, 
if by your Lordship's favour and respect the Receuver be not 
enioyned to deliuer readie money." ^ 

In the seventeenth century difficulties as to money did not 
lessen. Lord Eure wrote that his resources were inadequate, 
and that he was compelled to sell his lands.^ Yet the amount 
paid for diet and 'foreign expenses was considerable — viz. 
;^i,io6 13^. /i^d} The yearly total of the fines was also large, 
as may be seen from the Books of Hearing above described. 
With them may be compared a document among the Welsh 

' Lansdowne MSS. 156, f. 394. 

- Ibid. 

3 S.P.D. (1603-10), Jac. I., Vol. XLVII., No. 97, p. 538 (1609). 

^ Ibid., Car. I., 1625, p. 551, App., October 22nd. 


Arrerag' fines re- 
ceaved within the 
tyme of this Ac- 
compt. viz' 

Council Papers of the Bridgewater MSS. — viz. the account of 
Thomas Beale, receiver of fines, for the year ending Michael- 
mas, 1640.^ 

£ s. d. 

(Dependinge upon the said Ac-^ 
comptant in the foote of his last J- 736 5 9 
Accompt. J 

rffines received upon Courte"j 
< bookes within the tyme of this!- 416 18 4 
(accompt. J 

fifinesfor not prosecutinge causes 379 6 8 
receaved ffines in Absence 270 3 4 

The totall some of the) „ „ 

. 1087 8 I 
Charge is ) 

Fees, wages, and 
ordinary allowances 

6 8 

paym"' and dis- 
bursem'^^ viz' 

(ffees and rideing charges of the) 
Icouncell. i "^^^ 

rffees and allowances of the^ 
-^ Principall officers attending y*^!- 175 6 
tCouncell. J 

rffees and wages of the rest of y**"! 
-| officers and seruan*^*^* attendinge |- 48 8 
[the Councell. J 

{Provision of wood and Cole for^j 
his Ma*'^^ houshold there within J- 802 7 6 
the tyme of this Accompt. J 

rffor houshold stuff and utensills^l 
\ prouided for his Ma"^® said hous- \ 2418 6 
thold within the same tyme. j 
/'Reparac'ons and New buyldinges >> 
J in and aboute Ludlow Castle and I 
I Ticknell house within the tyme j 
''aforesaid. ^ 

(Diverse other Extraordinarie and ) 
(forren expences. j 

Some is ^^1351 8 5I 
' Welsh Council Papers, 27. 

185 8 o| 

411 13 I 


£, s. d. 

depending in TUpon the said Accomptant re-"| 
Charge. ^ mayninge in his handes upon)- 456 5 l\ 

ideterminacon of this Accompt. j 
Ex' per Jacobum Haughtonn 


The figures given above do something to justify the frequent 
accusation against the Council that it was extravagant and a 
needless burden on the royal exchequer. 

After the Restoration the payment of ^1,106 13J. 4^. for diet 
and foreign expenses continued.^ Several additional payments 
are recorded — e.g. j[^^oo towards the maintenance of an " honour- 
able stable," and ^800 for extraordinary expenses formerly 
defrayed out of the Star Chamber fines at the Council. The 
last entry is of importance, as showing the great difference made 
to the Council of the Marches by the Act abolishing the 
Star Chamber.^ 

As to the actual management of the household a good deal 
of information is extant. Sir Henry Sydney hit the mark when 
he petitioned the queen " that yt may please her highnes to 
extend her Lyberalitye in that behalf as to her shall seme good, 
for that the alio wau nee for his dyat and the Counsele ther ys 
no more than yt was Twentie yers past, and now every thing 
treble the pryce that then yt was." At present he has " no 
mannor of helpe for his ready money to bye all thinges agreeing 
with the partie to his great charges " By way of saving a little 
outlay, he asks that wine brought from the haven towns near 
Bristol for the consumption of the household may be exempted 
from impost, and this was granted so long as the quantity did 
not exceed ten tuns.' 

' S.P.D., Car. II., Vol. XLL, No. 65, p. 91 (1661-2), and (166S-9), p. 83, 
and July, 1672, pp. 427-8. 

- Ibid., Vol. XLIL, 1661, September 25th, p. 96, No. 25, and 1672, July, 
pp. 427-8. 

Many details concerning the fines are given in the following documents 
at the Public Record Office : Exchequer Q.R. Rolls (Accounts, etc.), 
Bundle 119, Nos. 5, 11, 12; Bundle 120, Nos. 8 and 20; Bundle 533, 
Nos. 22-6. 

» Ibid. (1547-80), Eliz., Vol. XIV. 38, p. 163. 


In the Lansdowne MSS. 87, f. 124, is a "note of the numbers 
who haue their diett by force of the presente Instructions in hir 
Ma^'^^ houshold at the Counsell in the Marches." Besides the 
Lord President and his servants (the number of whom was not 
limited), there were every term at Her Majesty's charge thirty-nine 
persons, not reckoning four men for whom the porter was allowed 
a mess of meat. Besides these, there were sixteen servants of 
necessity ever to be continued in the household, beginning with 
the steward and his servant, and ending with the two labourers 
in the kitchen. The Lord President would hardly have fewer 
than ten servants, as the Justice of Chester had eight ; more 
likely he would have as many as fifteen, so that the total number 
of persons to provide for would be between eighty and ninety.^ 

Some help towards provisioning the household was furnished 
by the royal forests of Wales and the Marches. The rangers, 
or keepers, of forests and chases were bound to furnish the 
Council with a certain amount of game yearly. Thus in July, 
1558, a bill was signed by Robert Townesend, addressed to the 
master of the game, ranger and keeper of the forest of 
Snowdon, for a stag to be sent " for the furniture and provision 
of the queen majesty's household of her great councell in the 
marches of Wales." A similar warrant is extant, signed by 
Sir Henry Sydney at Cardigan August 14th, 1561.^ 

In the Dovaston MS. (f. gr, 1616, November 7th) is a letter 
from the deputy ranger of the forest of Feckenham to the 
Lord Presidenti and Council, stating that since entering on his 
office he had supplied them with three bucks and three does 
yearly, serving them out of his friends' parks so as to increase 
the game in the forest. In the same volume (f. 107/^, 1621, 
May 19th) is a note dated from Bewdley that warrants were 
to be sent forthwith to all foresters in certain specified chases 
and forests for the provision of the household with bucks 
(or, in two cases, stags) ; like warrants were to go out in the 
proper season for does and hinds. This entry is followed by 
a warrant that the Lord President and Council might have 

' Lansdowne MSS. 87, f. 124. 

- Pennant, Tours in Wales, 8vo edition, App. Ill,, pp. 388-94. 


out of every park, forest, and chase within the Principality of 
Wales and the Border counties three bucks and three stags 
in summer and three does and three hinds in winter, and 
might hunt them with their bows, hounds, or greyhounds, or 
other ways at their liberty.^ 

The royal forests also supplied firewood for the use of the 
household. In the Dovaston MS. (f 17, 1596, December loth) is 
a warrant upon information from John Taverner, surveyor of 
H.M.'s woods, to deliver to the steward of the household of the 
Council in the Marches so many firewood trees out of Orleton 
wood as may make six hundred loads of wood and coal, the said 
steward paying for the felling of the same, "provided always that 
no tymber tree be falne by cullor hereof" Similarly on Novem- 
ber 7th, 161 8, it was ordered that the underwood in the forest 
of Bringwood and the Chase of Mocktree was to be allowed 
towards fuel for H.M.'s use at Ludlow, and cut according to 
a constant proportion yearly. The despoiling of some royal 
forests, partly, it is said, through pretended claims of estovers, 
partly by negligence of officers, was causing some disquiet at this 
time. Next year — 1612 — the Lord Treasurer Cranfield, writing 
to the Earl of Northampton, bids his purveyor set a good 
example and take only dry wood in very moderate proportion 
for the use of the household. 

The extreme care with which the Earl of Bridgewater 
preserved his correspondence is seen by the preservation of a 
household account for the week July 13th to 19th, 1641. Dis- 
bursements, expenses, and " remains " are entered under the 
following heads : Larder, Buttery, Pantrey, Sellor {sic), Spycerie, 
Sawcerie, Chaundrey, Stables, Extraordynarie Bills. 

One more point in regard to the household deserves some 
mention. A common complaint against the Council was that 
great expense fell on neighbouring places which had to find 
conveyances for its furniture, provisions, and fuel. The in- 
structions of 1586 refer to the corruption used by the purveyor 
and inferior officers in this matter, and provide that henceforth 
the country shall not be charged for any unnecessary carriage, 
• Hist. MSS. Commission, 13th Report, App. IV. 


and that the number of carriages shall be appointed by special 
warrant of the Council, or three of them/ the Lord President 
or Vice-President being one. The abuse, however, still continued, 
and was commonly complained of in the seventeenth century. 

The Bridgewater MSS. furnish some curious and amusing 
details as to the management of the household at Ludlow Castle 
between 163 1 and 1642. The Earl of Bridgewater rarely visited 
the Marches, but he received frequent letters from his steward, 
Henry Eccleston, who seems to have found his office burden- 
some in the extreme. He writes long, querulous letters to his 
master, full of the most trivial domestic details, to which the 
earl replies in an equally doleful strain — e.g. " I haue neither 
health nor leasure at this time to write much nor trouble my selfe 
with much Business" (April 3rd, 1641).^ On August 21st, 1641, 
the earl writes as follows : "I heare a rumor about the Towne 
of some miscarriage in the oeconomicall disposall of thinges in 
and about his Ma*-^'*^^ Castle of Ludlowe, w^*^ howsoever they 
may be at this time diuulged to make the Counsell in the 
Marches lesse gracious at this Parlement, yet I doubt there is 
some malice thereby intended to myself or y" ; w*^** I rather 
beleeue because I knowe myselfe absolutely free from meritt 
of blame in all (as I conceaue) for as many as are yet come 
to my eares or knowledge or that I can at the present remember. 
That Beere shoulde be bought by Firkin to serve the K. House. 
That a Poore wenche (to the disgrace of the K.) shoulde be 
made Brewer there, and the Graines soulde and alledged that 
they weere to be accompted for to the K. That there shoulde 
be a warehouse to sell Tymber in the K. house, and 5^. in the 
Turme gotten thereby. That the K. Courte shoulde be inclosed 
and lett out for Pasture to Butchers and others. That the 
allowance shoulde be imbursed by the Counsell and the House- 
keeping maintayned by the Extraordinary fines imposed upon 
delinquents." The earl was convinced that these charges were 
baseless, but wished Eccleston to send up an exact statement 
of the truth. The matter must be kept secret, " lest too much 

' Lansdowne MSS. 49, ff, 197-207, art. 50. 

^ Bridgewater MSS., Ludlow Castle Papers, 2 (April 3rd, 1641). 


stirring therein may increase jealousy and suspitions and breede 
an injurious credulity." ^ 

Eccleston had evidently heard that trouble was ahead, for on 
August 2oth he had written an indignant denial of the rumours 
then current. Beer, he says, was not taken in by the firkin, and 
not taken in at all till January, 1638. The brewing was usually 
done by a woman at least fifty years of age, though sometimes 
it had been the task of a lazy fellow "who at his last beinge 
here would not be gotten to brew but once a wicke, and he had 
halfe y° wicke to wander up and downe idlely and talke, and 
that was his delightful course of life." No such thing as a timber 
warehouse was kept in the castle ; merely a few spokes for carts 
were put in the woodyard to season, and they were not made 
out of the king's timber. It was a calumny to say that the 
castle courts were let out to butchers ; a few horses only were 
pastured in the bowling green.^ 

A few months earlier he had written to the earl complaining 
of the difficulties of his position. His chief bugbear was one of 
the Councillors, " Sir N's sucksessor, who is neuer pleased w*''* 
any thinge, but contynewally murmuringe and grudgeinge, euer 
fyndinge fault, where others his betters can find none : neyther 
is there any just cause to fynd any, and that do I knowe and the 
bills of fare will more fuUie manifest when they cume to be 
vewed. but sume are neuer pleased w*''^ anythinge, and it is such 
as the Prophett settes forth ; to be unjust and unholie, neyther 
thankful! to God or man and from such I pray to be deliuered 
and against such, when tyme is, I hope yo" will stand up and 
shew yo" selfe an opposytt, or else I am quite discouraged, and 
wish w^** all my hart to be discharged from hence and quitt of 
this imployment." Eccleston had also fallen foul of Wardell, 
the brewer, whose carriage and behaviour " is such as I shall 
neuer while I Hue here, desire to haue him cume againe." ^ 

The climax of grumbling is reached in Eccleston's letter of 
September 27th, 1641, to which unfortunately no reply is extant. 

' Bridgewater MSS., Ludlow Castle Papers, 32 (August ist, 1641). 

- Ibid., 2 (August 20th, 1640). 

' Ibid., 17 (February i8th, 1640-41). 


It says much for " his honour's patience " that the letter should 
have survived intact. 

" I humblie craue yo'' hon"^ patience to make a short relation 
of the condition of Jane Eames the Scullery woman, whose 
carriage hath bene such as I thinke not fytt to be indured in any 
howse and so I haue giuen her a discharge, and paid her all 
that was due unto her and this was her course, full of scouldinge 
and malitious speaches, reuileinge and slaunderinge of no less 
then 1 1 seuerall persons vidl*- my selfe, N. Edwardes the Cooke 
etc etc. Upon perfyttinge of the Inventory book, I fynd she 
hath lost 14 pewter dishes, 14 sawcers, 2 p'ir plates, i porrenger, 
all w*^'^ would cume to aboue 40® and she had found in her 
boxe 10 of y*^ hall Pewter spoones, thoughe before she in a 
most bould confident manner denied them, yea and forswore 
them, as thoughe she had bene the most innocent creature that 
could haue lined, and after beinge found lapt up in a cloth and 
laid close in y« corner of her boxe her selfe haueinge throwne 
out all her thinges out of her trunke, before and lastly out of her 
boxe, sayinge would she take such a thinge or anythinge to be 
found w*-*^ her, no, she was innocent and knew nothinge of any 
such matter and then beinge found, she could not denie it, but 
earnestly intreated Moyses who found them that I might not 
know of it ; then she had a secrett way under her aprone of 
conveyinge meate from y*^ table and she had very often one or 
2 charewemen hanginge after her, so I thinke it was more 
then tyme to be ridd of her and for y"^ after tyme how lyttle so 
euer I hope to fynd a better for the place, it goes very hard if I 
finde a worse, and soe humblie craueinge pardon for my tedious 
letter w*'^ my prayers for yo*" hon" health w*''' prosperity I most 
humblie remaine 

" Yo"" hon""^ most humble seruant, 

" Hen. Ecclestone." ^ 

The earl evidently felt he could not hope for much in 
the way of entertainment if he visited Ludlow. Writing on 
July nth, 1640, he tells Eccleston : 

' Bridgewater MSS., Ludlow Castle Papers, 39. 


" y' Letter of the 6"^^ of this present I haue receaued and ame 
sorry to finde thereby that I shall' be so ill prouided at my 
comming to Ludlowe whither if may be 1 shall come before 
I be looked for, if God permitt and enable me w*'' healthe. 
For y^ iioodes at Culmington I coulde have wished it otherwayes 
if it had pleased God. I finde by y*' Letter that y" intend to 
seeke for helpe at Birche. I must lett y" knowe that I must 
as well take care for my selfe as for prouisions at Ludlowe and 
my Landes and revenewes must not be spent to that purpose, 
wherefore I thinke y"" marketts must be y'' last and perhaps best 
refuge, and wee must Hue upon the Peny rather than I shoulde 
consume and loose so many poundes as I presume I shall, if 
wee continue in our former waye. I shall be ill besteed if I 
can neither haue fleshe nor Drinke when I come to Ludlowe 
and I doubt both by y"^ Letter and this is all either the direction 
or comforte I can geue y"^ as the case now standeth, so that 
y" must sett y*" judgm* and experience on worke to see that all 
thinges may be as well accommodated as is possible in these 
pressures, so being at this present very full of Businesse, I 
conclude and rest 

" Yr very louing M*'. 

" Barbacan, 

"JuHj 11° 1640." ' 

Next year and the year after matters naturally grew worse. 
In March, 1641-2, Eccleston writes: "there are 4 seuerall 
Billes signed to be paid out of the fynes w''*' came to £i^<). 07. 08. 
w'^'^ are in no lykelyhood as yet to be paid, for these 2 last 
termes haue not brought in so much as will pay the lawndress, 
which is but jQ^. 2. o. for a quarter's washinge the lynen for the 
howse ; if the next payment for the dyett money be paid in, 
there may be hope to recouer those bills out of that, if the 
Court doe goe downe and the howse be giuen up." ^ 

In April the earl wrote to him advising him to be as economical 
as he could during the next term. The Justices must certainly 
have meat and drink ; but the diet-money had not been paid, 

' Bridgewater MSS., Ludlow Castle Papers, 53. - Ibid., 43. 


and the earl had no intention of incurring Habilities for dis- 
bursements beyond the necessary bread, drink, and meat for 
the next " appearance " ; " and of this," he adds, " I would haue 
you to take as good care as you may, being to wrastle with 
y'r present difficulties." In May Eccleston wrote that there 
was a rumour that the king, the prince, or both might come 
to Ludlow before long. He asked if he should provide for them 
at the earl's charges or give them what remained out of the 
store. The earl replied that he did not believe the rumour, 
but if it should be true, the king or prince must of course have 
the castle at their disposal, and their own officers would be 
best able to make provision for them. " My purse," he adds, 
" is not large enough to beare the charge thereof, therefore 
I thinke you neede (not) to trouble yourselfe with that care 
and paines, unlesse your helpe be desired by their officers 
without my charge." ^ 

The Ludlow housekeeping can hardly be called successful 
as regards either economy or comfort. An unknown writer who 
evidently had personal experience of it suggests to Burghley : 
"That the v*^'' which is receaved every half-yere, may remayne 
in the stewartes handes, and not be caried away. That the 
bred and beere be good and convenient, or els the on(e) being 
old and hard and the other to small, men may thinke counsailers 
be used therin as hindes be in other men's houses that they 
shuld not spend to much therof." ^ A few years later the 
steward wrote an urgent letter to the Councillors asking for 
^30 at once, wherewith to furnish napery and pewter, scarcely 
any being left of either. The money was paid with unwonted 

' Bridgewater MSS., Ludlow Castle Papers, 27. 

- Lansdowne MSS. III, f. 25. This letter is in the same hand as Lans- 
downe MSS. 76, ff. 1416-9, which is headed " Incerti Aucthoris." 
^ Exchequer Q.R. Rolls (Accounts, etc.), Bundle 533, No. 22. 



Among the varied duties of the Lord President were the 
defence of the counties within his jurisdiction and the despatch 
of troops, when occasion arose, to quell rebellion in Ireland. 
The Acts of the Privy Council are full of directions with regard 
to the levying of troops, the mustering of trained soldiers, the 
arrest and trial of pirates, the fortification of exposed ports, 
the erection of beacons, and the like. The Lord President was 
usually lord-lieutenant for the counties of Wales and the four 
Border counties, sometimes of Warwickshire as well.^ In this 
capacity he had the power of appointing deputy-lieutenants and 
muster masters for the several counties within his jurisdiction. 
Notices of activity in this direction are specially frequent in 
Elizabeth's reign from the time of the Desmond Rebellion to 
the Armada, and again during the personal government of 
Charles L 

The number of troops sent to Ireland from Wales was con- 
siderable. In June, 1574, the Earl of Bedford and the Lord 
President of Whales (Sir Henry Sydney) were directed to levy 

' The number of counties varied considerably — e.g. in 1613 Lord Eure 
was lord-lieutenant of nine Welsh counties and of Worcestershire, 
Shropshire, and Herefordshire, while the Earl of Worcester was lord- 
lieutenant of IMonmouthshire and Glamorganshire. The Earl of North- 
ampton was usually lord-lieutenant of Wales (eleven counties, Glamorgan- 
shire going, as before, with Monmouthshire) and of the four Border counties, 
Warwickshire being sometimes added — e.g. in 1624. In 1629, however, he 
was lord-lieutenant of eighteen counties — vis. the twelve Welsh counties, 
the four Border counties, Monmouthshire, and Warwickshire. In 1640 the 
Earl of Bridgevvater was lord-lieutenant of the twelve Welsh counties and 
of the four Border counties (Council Register, passim^. 



two thousand men, and in August two hundred more ; in 1578 
a thousand were to be got ready for the same service, while 
in 1579 — the year of the Desmond RebelHon — a thousand 
more were needed from Wales, besides another thousand from 
Dorset, Somerset, Devon, and Cornwall.^ Next year — 1580 — 
the Lord President was bidden to put in readiness eight 
hundred soldiers of North and South Wales to embark from 
Chester and Bristol.^ The arrangements for embarkation do 
not seem to have worked over smoothly. The Commissioners 
for Musters in the counties of Carmarthen, Cardigan, and 
Pembroke were charged with fraud and self-interest, and had to 
be admonished by the Privy Council to mend their ways ; some 
of the Welsh recruits, too, were rejected as unfit.^ 

The Earl of Pembroke, at the time when the Armada was 
expected, was bidden to see that the forces in the shires of 
Wales were put in readiness, and to inform the Privy Council 
of his proceedings, " that her Majestie may take Comfort thereat."^ 
Next year, at his request, " some martiall men of skill and 
experience in these tymes of doubt " were sent to him for the 
better ordering and conducting of the forces under his Presidency. 
It was arranged that a reasonable contribution was to be made 
for providing powder, and that in the case of a hostile descent 
every person employed in the defence would be received into 
" pay and entertainment " if he served more than eight days. 
A little later we find proof of the strain involved in these 
preparations against invasion. The inhabitants of Monmouth- 
shire complained that divers sums had been collected, but that 
the manner of their employment remained unknown ; they had 
been forced to travel out of their hundreds for mustering and 
training, and the charges of the muster masters and trainers 
of soldiers had been extremely burdensome. The Privy Council 
ordered that the Earl of Pembroke should cause certain specified 
persons to ascertain what sums had been levied in the county 

' A.P.C., Vol. VIII., p. 254, Vol. X., p. 240, and Vol. XL, p. 219. 

- Ibid., Vol. XII., p. 65. 

^ Ibid., Vol. XII., p. 340, and pp. 140- 1. 

' Ibid., Vol. XV., p. 255. 


for the last two years, and how they had been spent ; sums levied 
without good warrant and not yet employed were to be repaid. 
Persons were to be mustered and trained, if possible, within 
their own hundreds ; in every hundred, persons appointed at 
the discretion of the deputy-lieutenants were to look after the 
musters and training, without any wages and entertainment. 
Pembroke was to see redress of like grievances effected for the 
other shires in his government.^ A few years later a similar 
complaint occurred in Carmarthenshire against the deputy- 
lieutenant : ;^25 was taken for a muster master who did no 
work. The Privy Council directed that an inquiry should be 
held and the money returned to the contributors. In the year 
1590 Ireland was a special subject of anxiety, owing to the fear 
of a Spanish landing. Seven hundred men were requisitioned 
from the Principahty of _Wales, to be transported from the havens 
of Bristol, Chester, Liverpool, Milford, and Beaumaris. The 
fortifications of Wales also were to be surveyed. Pembroke 
urged strongly that Milford Haven should be better defended, 
and suggested that two thousand men should be sent to 
Pembrokeshire for two months. The Council inclined to forti- 
fications as being less expensive in the long run ; but as it was 
too late to finish them that summer, one thousand men were to 
be sent over from Somersetshire to Milford. 

The nature of the Lord President's military duties at this 
period can be best gathered from the valuable " Papers relating 
to the Trained Soldiers of Shropshire in the reign of Elizabeth," 
printed by Mr. W. Phillips in the transactions of the Shropshire 
Archaeological and Natural History Society.^ These show that 
in 1562, at the time of the outbreak of war with France, a Com- 
mission was issued to Sir Henry Sydney, Sir Andrew Corbet, 
Charles Fox, and William Gateacre to send up a report to 
the Court of Exchequer on the observance of the statute 4 & 5 
Ph. & M., c. 2, which enacted that "every temporal person 
possessed of property to the yearly value of 100 marks should 
have, keep, and maintain one gelding apt and meet for a 

» A.P.C., Vol. XVII., p. 328. 

2 Second Series, Vols. I., II., 1889-90 (especially Vol. II., pp. 215-94). 


light horseman, with the sufficient harness and weapons for 
the same." The Commissioners were to be assisted by the 
sheriffs, bailiffs, and constables, and their position was strengthened 
by a Privy Council Order enforcing attention to their commands, 
and warning all concerned against partiality. The return sent in 
to the Commissioners by the town and franchise of Salop was 
most satisfactory — viz. " No person or persons that we can find 
hath offended the said estatute or any branch or article thereof." 
In 1563, when Havre was being held against both Huguenots 
and Catholics, a second Commission was issued on June 27th, 
with the result that the Sheriff and Justices of Peace for Salop 
were ordered to get ready five hundred soldiers. Nearly a month 
later three hundred more were required for the war in Normandy 
(July 23rd). 

In 1577 a Royal Commission for Musters was issued to Sir 
Henry Sydney, Lord President, the Bailiffs of Shrewsbury, Sir 
Andrew Corbet, Sir Arthur Manwaringe, Edward Leighton, 
George Lee (Leigh), and Richard Prince. The men between 
sixteen and sixty years of age within Salop and its liberties were 
to be armed, trained, and inspected. Interesting details can be 
gathered from the papers relating to the Armada year, such as 
the contributions for the defence of the country, the orders 
touching the trained bands, the beacons, and the appointment 
of a provost marshal for the " apprehension, stockinge and 
ymprisoninge " of those who spread false rumours. The thanks- 
giving for the defeat of the Armada is thus recorded in the 
Borough Chronicle: "This yeare and the 19 daye of September 
being Tuesdaye, and two dayes after the festivall daye of the 
coronacion of the Queenes maiestie, and the sayde daye fallinge 
uppon S. Elizabethes daye, was a solempn daye in Shrousberie, 
and all people that daye keapt it holly unto the Lorde, that had 
gyve hir m^''' sutche victorie and blessid overthrowe of the 
Spanishe power and hudge navy of hir enemies to the greate 
reioisinge of all England. God be praysid. Amen." ^ 

' The taking of musters caused at times much friction between the lord- 
lieutenant and the municipal authorities. The following is an instance 
taken from the Bristol Chronicle : " The Earl (of Pembroke) came to Bristol 


In the seventeenth century the judicial duties of the Lord 
President were for the most part left to the legal members of 
the Council in the Marches. His military duties as lord- 
lieutenant, however, still continued, as may be seen from the 
numerous letters addressed by the Privy Council to Lord Eure, 
the Earl of Northampton, and the Earl of Bridgewater. For 
the most part these letters refer to the mustering of soldiers, 
levies for Ireland, the fortification of Milford Haven against 
Moorish or Turkish pirates, and the punishment of dishonest 
ofificers or refractory subjects. They are of interest as showing 
the general unwillingness to be mustered for training. The 
Privy Council sought at times to rouse greater efforts by referring 
to disturbances abroad : a reason often given for greater viligance 
is "for that the affaires of Christendome do still stand upon 
such uncertaine terms." An amusing instance of the way in 
which the constant supervision of the Privy Council tended to 
paralyse local effort and common sense is given in the following 
extract from the Council Register under the date July 20th, 1632 : 

"About y° landing of Pirates in y*" County of Carnarvon. 

" Whereas there was this day read at the Boarde a letter written 
by the deputy Lieutenants of the County of Carnarvon to y® 
Ea : of Bridgewater bearing date y'^ sixt of this moneth in w*^*^ 
they informe that certaine Pirates came into a hauen of that 
County and seemed to threaten and make a shewe as if they 
would lande, in which Case y® said deputy Lieutenants not 
knowing what course to take, they desired to be instructed 
therein. Their lordships much merveyling they should make 
so strange a demande in a matter wherein their owne iudgements 
might sufficiently informe them, did order that a lettre should 
be written from y*^ Boarde to y*' said Ea : of Bridgewater, 
requiring his lordship thereby in regarde of y® place w°*^ he 
holdeth in those partes under his Ma*^^ to giue expresse direccon 

from Wales Mar. 17 1586, to take a general muster of the trained bands, 
and the Queen having notice by some of the citizens that the Earl presumed 
to take the upper hand of the Mayor (at which there was a great grudge) 
her Majesty sent for him and gave him a sore check and sent him to the 
Tower for a certain space, until he had paid a fine." Seyer, Memoirs of 
Bristol, Vol. II., ch. 26, p. 249, § 33. 


not onely to the Deputy Lieut^ of the sayde County but lykewyse 
to the high Sheriffes and Justices of the peace w'thin y'' severall 
Countyes, w*^*^ are under his charge, as occasion shall require, 
to take careful! and effectuall Order as well to prevent y*' landing 
of any Pirates as to apprehende and commit to prison any 
such as shall presume to come on Lande." ^ 

The reader is reminded of the Indian station master's telegram : 
" Tiger on platform ; wire instructions." 

In the years of trouble with Scotland, 1638-40, letters from the 
Privy Council grow more frequent as well as more peremptory. 
In April, 1638, the following entry occurs in the Council 
Register : 

" Letter to the Ea : of Bridgewater Lord President of y® 
Marches of Wales. 

"The Certificat sent unto yo" from yo'' deputy Lieutenants for 
the County of Mountgomery touching the Contemptuous Carriage 
of the Constables and others mencioned therein hath beene 
presented to the Board by Mr. Secretary Coke and there read 
(his Ma^y being present in Councell) and as there is good cause 
to bee sensible of the ill Carriage of the persons Complayned of 
in this Service, but especially of the undutifuU Carriage of Lloyd 
Peirce therein, being a Justice of Peace in that County, who 
ought to haue expreste more forwardnes and better affeccion to 
the King's Service. Soe wee haue thought good by his Ma*^ 
expresse commaund hereby to authorize and require yo'' Lo'p 
to giue effectuell order for the punishing of the said Constables 
and the rest according to their Contempts and demeritts. And 
for the said Lloyd Peirce, wee haue by his Ma*'® like Commaund 
{T^ven order to put him out of the Commission of Peace. And 
so," etc.^ 

Even stronger is a letter to the earl a year later (April 24th, 
1639) exhorting him to punish offenders in the matter of 
musters. Only notorious and extraordinary causes are to be 
referred to the king or Privy Council, " the travaihng up hether 
(being) so chargeable, those Countreyes being so farr remote." ^ 

' Council Register, July 20th, 1632. " Ibid, April 29th, 1638. 

^ Idicl, April 26th, 1639. 


The unpopularity of the bishops may perhaps be shown by 
the circumstance that the deputy-heutenants for co. Flint, 
having to choose fifteen horse out of the trained bands to be 
weekly exercised and kept ready for the king's service, pitched 
upon the horses belonging to the Bishop of St. Asaph and the 
clergy of his diocese. The Privy Council found this "a very 
strange and partiall proceeding," and ordered that the bishop's 
horse was to be released, all bishops being naturally exempt 
from such a charge. The clergy, too, were to be exempt, in con- 
sideration of their large contributions to the expenses of the war.^ 
In December, 1639, the Earl of Bridgewater was ordered to 
inquire into the misappropriation by the conductors of the 
moneys received for soldiers on the late expedition to the North. 
Offenders were to be indicted at the next Grand Sessions if he 
thought fit.^ Entries in the following year (1640) show similar 
difficulties. In the town of Brecon there was friction between 
the bailiff and the deputy-lieutenants of the county. The 
former refused to impress more than eight out of the twelve able 
men of the town required by the latter, alleging that for every 
one hundred men charged on the county only four were charged 
on the town. The county in this case had to furnish two hundred ; 
therefore the town could not be liable for more than eight. 
He had to submit to the deputy-lieutenants, and his uncivil 
behaviour was passed over in consideration that otherwise he 
had been forward in His Majesty's service.^ 

Many indications occur of unwillingness to serve in the 
Northern war; the deputy-lieutenants of Montgomery informed 
the Lord President that various men had run away since they 
had been impressed. The Privy Council ordered the earl to 
direct the deputy-lieutenants to proceed against any whom they 
happened to arrest.* 

After the Restoration the military duties of the Lord President 
were of a merely formal character. 

An important side of the Council's administrative work was 

' Council Register, May 5th, 1639. ^ Ibid., December 22nd, 1639. 

* Ibid., June 26th, 1640. " Ibid., June loth, 1640. 


that dealing with economic matters, such as the supply of grain 
and other victuals, inclosures, and the settlement of industrial 
disputes. In fact, they might, equally with the ordinary Justice 
of the Peace, complain of the "stacks of statutes" which, as 
Lambarde said, were laid on the country gentry in the Tudor 

Foremost among these were the Acts against regraters, fore- 
stallers, and engrossers of grain and victuals;^ the Act for the 
keeping of milch kine and rearing of calves ; the Act against 
killing of weanlings, and that concerning the buying and selling 
of other beasts. The Lord President was held responsible for 
the adequate supply of victuals within his jurisdiction, and direc- 
tions were sent to him by the Privy Council for the export of 
corn or cattle from Wales in time of plenty. Instances of activity 
in this direction may be gathered from the Acts of the Privy 
Council.^ Wales was naturally called upon to supply food as well 
as men for the constant Irish wars of the sixteenth century. 

In 1587-8 there was an unusual dearth of corn in Wales 
and the Marches, and in consequence the Lord President was 
ordered to cease mustering and training the soldiers. 

To this time possibly may be referred an undated document 
among the Lansdowne MSS. (49, f. 188). It is headed, "A 
remembrance of present provision of grayne to be made for 
Wales and the marches of the same to avoyd the sterving of 
the subiectes or other as grete mischife as may ensue." The 
writer draws a piteous picture of the results of the bad harvest : 
" Infinite nombers of idel beggers and also verie many whole 
householdes of the good laboring people of the frontier of 
Wales, that never begged before, everie part of Wales itself 
soe swarmed certeyn monethes before harvest last that noe 
doore in the marches any ower of the day was free of theyr 
pitiefull cries, and the leane cheres and pale faces of thiese 
poore and theyre puelinge and woful mones did playnelly bewray 
the exstreame hunger that they did indure, and how unable 
the multitude of the fermors were to yeld theyr old accustomed 

' Cases of forestalling are occasionally mentioned in the entry books of 
the Council from 1632 to 1642. 


relife to the poore. And the grete nomber of ffermors and 
leaseholders chardged with children and servants that were com- 
pelled to sel cattell and thinge needefull to purchas come divers 
weekes before harvest did discover the generall want of come 
in the accustomed storehowses of corne both in Wales and in 
al the marches of the same. And also the excessive prices of 
pese and ffecches gredely bowght by the people to make bred 
did playnely manifest to the world the grete universall want that 
was, and what smawle store there was to bring in new provision 
by harvest then to com. 

" And where most yeres divers ientilmen and ffermers were 
compelled by lack of barnerowmes to make stackes and worke 
abrode, this present late harvest is not abell to fyl the bayes 
of theyr barnes that were wont to be stuffed with whete and 
rie only with al sortes of grayne. And certeyne it is that 
most men shal not haue grayne enowe of this last harvest to 
sowe their growndes ageyne, which thinge weyd, if forsight 
be not had, the multitude of her maiesties subiectes are like 
to sterve or to fawle (exstreame famine soe compelling) into 
more disorder then other her Maiestie or good men can like 
of. Wherfore it were good that supreame auctoritie did addresse 
theyr I'res in this case of exstreamitie to the Merchants of 
Bristowe and to other able marchants of other portes in Wales 
or in the West cuntrey to make foreyne provision out of hand 
by the wey of the river of Siverne to releve the marches and 
the ports of Wales to releve the people of Wales or from other 
partes of this realme abovvnding with corne to make the provision 
or otherwise to be meanes to the Q. most excellent maiestie 
to defray some iij^' or xiij" for the provision to be made, which 
were but the forbering of the sonne but for a fewe monthes 
but yet be charitable a thing and a thing soe tending to the 
purchesse of the unspekeable love of the multitude that ech man, 
woman and child if they had tene thousand lives wold spende 
the same at hir foote." 

As an instance of the hardship that was sometimes caused to 
individuals by compulsory sale of com in time of scarcity, the 
following case is of interest. Oliver Hullins and others were 


bound to Roger Brereton for delivery of certain bushels of rent 
corn for the rectory of Staunton Lacy (Salop). In the time of 
scarcity they were ordered to bring corn to the market towns 
for sale. Thus the penalties of their bond, accrued, and they 
petitioned the Privy Council for relief. The Justices of the 
Peace were ordered to call the parties before them. Roger 
Brereton demanded ^^o ; but Hullins and his fellows said they 
could not pay more than ;^2S. The Privy Council wrote to 
the Justices ordering them to send for Brereton, and cause him 
either to accept the ^2;^ or show reason for refusal. Brereton 
on this procured process of execution to the Sheriff of Salop, 
" and on his warrant apprehended Hullins and did committ him 
to goale^ from whence he did of late by some casual means skepe 
away." Brereton commenced a suit against the sheriff before 
the Council of the Marches, while the sheriff prosecuted one 
of the tithe-payers upon the forfeiture of his bond. In the 
end the Justices were directed to summon Brereton and make 
him accept the terms offered, or else certify to the Privy Council 
the cause of his refusal (A.P.C., Vol. XVII., p. 2 3). 

In the seventeenth century the Council in the Marches was 
still expected to see that the country was sufficiently supplied 
with food. On May 25th, 1637, the Privy Council wrote to 
the Earl of Bridgewater enclosing a letter from sundry Justices 
of Pembrokeshire, complaining that Henry Lort, Esq., had shipped 
corn out of the county in time of scarcity, and asking for his 
exclusion from the Commission of the Peace. Lort had 
petitioned against this, saying, on the contrary, he had supplied 
various places in England and Wales with corn during time 
of scarcity. The earl was asked to bring the matter before 
the Council of the Marches and report to the Privy Council. 
Meanwhile Lort was not to be put out of the Commission.^ 

In November of the same year the Privy Council was 
perplexed by conflicting reports as to the provision of corn in 
Pembrokeshire. Requests had been made to the Privy Council 
as well as to the Council of the Marches that corn, being 

' Council Register, May 25th, 1637: cf. Bridgewater MSS., Welsh Council 
Papers, 35 (1637). 


plentiful there, might be exported to other shires where there was 
a deficient supply. A letter, however, had come from the 
Justices of the Peace in the county complaining that the order 
for transportation was likely to cause scarcity. The Privy 
Council, " unsatisfied with the contrarity of Informac'ons," sent 
this letter to the Council of the Marches directing them, in 
accordance with their judgment, to give order for further restraint 
or for liberty of sale.^ 

The Council was frequently concerned with one of the most 
difficult economic problems of Tudor times — the question of 
inclosures. Several notices are extant of the inclosure cases that 
came up for trial, and no doubt if the records for the sixteenth 
century survived, we should find much important information as 
to the progress of the inclosure movement in the Marches. 
Even as it is we have enough to show how steadily inclosing 
went on, and also how stubborn was the resistance made. A 
typical instance is the complaint in 1573 of the inhabitants of 
Worcester respecting the inclosure of a common. The Privy 
Council decided that a settlement was to be made by the Bishop of 
Worcester, Sir Thomas Lucy, and the Lord President. It appears 
that Sir John Conway would not " come before them or stand to 
their order ; but how the matter was ended does not appear." ^ 

Another case of alleged encroachment on a common came 
before the Privy Council in 1578. A frame of timber had 
been erected by Sir John Throckmorton on a copyhold of his in 
the forest of Feckenham. This was alleged to be an encroach- 
ment on a common and tend to the undoing of poor tenants. 
The frame was thrown down and hewn in pieces ; the culprits 
were sent for by a Commissioner appointed by the Council of 
the Marches, but refused to come ; whereupon three of them 
were sent for by the Privy Council and committed to the 
Marshalsea, till an information against them should be exhibited 
in the Star Chamber. Meanwhile, till the question of right was 
decided, Sir John Throckmorton was ordered not to re-erect 
his timber frame. ^ 

' Council Register, November 19th, 1637. ^ A.P.C., Vol. VIII. p. 195. 
- Jbtd., Vol. X., p. 375, and Vol. XL, p. 191. 


A noteworthy inclosure suit in which the Council of the 
Marches was concerned was the great dispute between Sir 
Edward Herbert, brother of the Earl of Pembroke, and Vaughan, 
of which full details are given in the Acts of the Privy Council.^ 
Not long after this case was tried we find that Sir Edward was 
again complained of for inclosing certain waste grounds in which 
common had been enjoyed "time out of mind." The Privy 
Council gave order that this matter should be decided by the 
Council in the Marches, but that in future such cases should 
be tried by common law without unnecessary delay. Herbert's 
late opponent, John Owen Vaughan, seems to have been equally 
guilty in the matter of inclosing. Certain gentlemen of the Lord- 
ship of Powys complained of his action, and desired letters from 
the Privy Council to the Council in the Marches. The Privy 
Council decided that no action was to be taken till the ensuing 
term, when Sir Edward Herbert, lord of the barony, should 
attend their lordships. In the end it was ordered that the 
Lord President and the Council of the Marches should call 
certain parties before them and examine into the rights of the 
case. A few references occur to the action of the Council 
respecting inclosures in the seventeenth century. In the 
Dovaston MS., f. 44, is an order to Sir Thomas Chamberlaine to 
" determine the complaint of Richard Shirburne of Stonihurst, co. 
Lanes, esq. holding an estate in Chirk co. Denbigh lately the 
inheritance of John Edwardes esq. that sundry great parcels of 
commons and wastes of that lordship have been wrongfully 
inclosed by Sir Thomas Middleton Alderman of London contrary 
to the charter of Henry VII. and other grants and to orders 
made by the Council of Queen EUzabeth in the Marches." 

Yet another instance of resistance to inclosures occurred in 
1629. On April ist the Privy Council wrote to Sir John 
Bridgman and Sir Marmaduke Lloyd, Judges of Assize for the 
county of Chester and North Wales (members of the Council of 
the Marches), and to the Justices of the Peace in the county 
of Flint. They complained that information had been received 
of the "insolent and Rietous carrage of some audatious persons 
' Hist. MSS. Commission, 13th Report, App. IV. 


in pulling downe a new inclosure made aboute a parcell of his 
Mat^ Land called Ewloe Wood alias Ewloe Parke in the County 
of fflynt." They marvel that "in a civill government" no steps 
had been taken to punish such offenders, and think it strange that 
the Board should have to give directions in a case where the 
duty of Justices was so obvious. The persons addressed are 
ordered to examine strictly into the insolencies complained of, 
and to take order for the punishment of guilty persons. A 
second letter, dated April i8th, administers a severe reprimand 
to the Justices for doing nothing to check the above misconduct 
or to inform the Council of its continuance. Offenders were to 
be apprehended and tried at the next Assizes. 

The Council, or individual members of it, were frequently 
called upon to enforce statutes dealing with the cloth manu- 
facture (which flourished in the Marches and in some of the 
Welsh counties) or to intervene in industrial disputes. In the 
Acts of the Privy Council, Vol. XIX., p. 154, is a notice of a 
complaint made to their lordships by the bailiffs and others 
of the city of Worcester against brokers, engrossers, regraters, 
etc., who had caused the impoverishment of poor persons and 
the increase of the price of wool contrary to the statutes of 5 
Edw. VI. and 21 Eliz. These statutes were ordered to be read 
in open market and search made for engrossers, who were to 
enter into bonds for due observance thereof. The whole matter 
was put into the hands of the Earl of Pembroke. 

The Council registers for the first forty years of the seven- 
teenth century contain several entries of a kind similar to that 
just mentioned. Seven of the counties included in the Lord 
President's jurisdiction are in the list of clothing counties noted 
under the date April 6th, 1622 (Gloucester, Salop, Worcester, 
Denbigh, Monmouth, Merioneth, Montgomery). In 16 13 a 
complaint was made to the Privy Council by the drapers of 
Shrewsbury, Oswestry, and Whitchurch against certain French 
merchants of London who came to the town of Mechanteth 
(Machynlleth ?) in North Wales, bought up many hundred pieces 
of cloth that would otherwise have been brought to Oswestry, 
and shipped them to France, to the impoverishing of many 


persons in Oswestry and ' the decay of the ancient staple there. 
The matter was referred to the Justices of Assize for Salop and 
North Wales, who reported that the drapers of London and 
other foreigners should be restrained from buying, uttering, 
and transporting cloths except at London. A second hearing 
of the matter was confided to Lord Eure, the Lord President, 
the Justices of Assize for Salop, the Attorney-General (Bacon), 
the Solicitor-General (Yelverton), and one of the Judges of 
Assize for North Wales, who reported to the following effect : 

1. That the previous decision should be confirmed, with the 

addition of certain explanations — viz. 

2. That the subjects of North Wales and Cardigan may sell 

their cottons, friezes, and cloths at what market or to 
what person they will, and not be forced to come to 
Oswestry, so long as they sell them for home use only, 
not for transportation. 

3. All transportation of such commodities from those parts 

of Wales was to be forbidden, as it would ruin the trade 
(which has become very prosperous), to be diverted to 
Blackvvell Hall, London. 

4. The drapers of Chester, Coventry, and those parts may be 

admitted to buy at Oswestry so long as they do not 

5. Merchants and drapers of London are to be excluded from 

buying at Oswestry. 

6. Their factors, too, are not to be suffered to buy at 


The Privy Council ordered this report to be put into execution.^ 

A few years later a difference occurred between the drapers 

and mercers of Shrewsbury concerning the purchase of Welsh 

cottons at Oswestry and their conveyance to London. The 

Earl of Northampton and Sir Thomas Chamberlaine appeared 

before the Privy Council, and stated that, according to an order 

of a few months before, they had examined into the matter, 

but that the parties could come to no agreement. They asked 

and received the help of certain specified persons. The point 

' Council Register, February 22nd, 1613. 


in dispute was whether the drapers only might purchase Welsh 
cloths and cottons at Oswestry for conveyance to London and 
elsewhere. They claimed the exclusive right as " the only traffique 
they haue to use for their mayntenance and liuelyhoode," while 
the mercers asserted that they had exercised the right from time 
to time with all liberty and freedom. The Privy Council had 
by no means finished with the affairs of Oswestry. In 1662 they 
directed the Lord President to examine the dispute between 
the Shrewsbury drapers and the Welsh clothiers. The drapers, 
it seems, had forborne their weekly resort to Oswestry, while 
the poor clothiers were afraid to go to Shrewsbury. Oswestry 
market and the Welsh cotton trade seemed likely to decay, 
to the prejudice of the whole country of Wales, and possible 
ill-consequences to the peace might ensue. The Privy Council 
thought that Oswestry market ought to be re-established, and 
enclosed a copy of an order to that effect. But the Shrewsbury 
drapers had petitioned for the liberty and privilege of their 
weekly market at Shrewsbury, that they might buy cottons 
brought thither, as well as anything else : this, they maintained, 
would benefit everybody, the Welsh clothiers included. The 
Privy Council was not inclined to rescind its decision to please 
the Shrewsbury drapers, but wished the Lord President and 
Chief Justice of Chester to examine the matter and hear all 
sides — viz. the gentlemen in the country, the clothiers of Wales, 
the drapers of Shrewsbury, the inhabitants of Oswestry, and 
any other persons interested.^ 

The last occasion on which a matter affecting the cloth trade 
was referred to the Lord President and Council appears to be 
in 1637. The drapers of Shrewsbury had petitioned the Privy 
Council respecting the ill-making of "Welch cloathes." The 
report presented to the Privy Council is of some length, and 
contains recommendations as to the length of cloths, the kind of 
yarn, and the details of measuring. The report was adopted by 
the Privy Council, who wrote to the Lord President and Council in 
the Marches directing them to give it effect (December 3rd, 1637). 

The relief of the poor was a matter with which the Council 
' Council Register, June 27th and July 29th, 1622. 


had some concern. It often granted " placards " to persons who 
had suffered loss by fire, allowing them to beg for charitable 
contributions. Some of these cases have been noted above ; 
to them may be added a letter in the Shrewsbury MSS. from 
the bailiffs to the warden of the company of bakers, commending 
to them, as to all the brotherhoods, the case of John ap Rees, 
in behalf of whom Secretary Fox, a burgess, and one of the 
Council of the Marches had written, and to whom a licence had 
been granted to receive charitable gifts, " he having by sudden 
rage of fire had his dwelling house and all that he had consumed." 
Subjoined is a note that the bakers contributed 35-. 2>d. On the 
other hand, an instance occurs of the Council's issuing a pro- 
hibition against a man who had a hcence to beg for three years. 
The matter came up before the Privy Council, Twenty J.P.'s 
had certified the causes of his extremity, and order was given 
that he was not to be hindered in the exercise of his licence 
within the counties of Cardigan, Montgomery, and Denbigh. 

In this connection a case of some interest is recorded in the 
Council Register for 1639. A certificate is entered as received 
from the Chief Justice of the Marches of Wales, Adam Littleton 
and Timothy Tourner, dated Ludlow Castle, November 7th, 

Two years before, John Betton and two other persons (Matthewes 
and Ridgeway) had received ;!^5oo stock upon certain agreements 
between them and the town of Shrewsbury to set the poor 
children of the town to work. Owing to the death of his two 
colleagues, Betton was unable to undertake the matter alone, 
but the Privy Council desiring that " soe charitable a worke 
might not be deserted," referred it to certain townsmen of 
Shrewsbury, who reported that Betton was not willing to continue 
it. Mr. Simon Watson, however, was, if he might have a stock 
of ^1,000. Order was therefore given that Betton was to hand 
over to Watson the ;^5oo he had received, less his disbursements 
in buildings, etc., which were to be estimated by the aldermen 
and assistants of the town. Betton petitioned to be allowed to 
pay two-thirds of the sum (one-third for himself and one-third 
for Ridgeway's administratrix), while Matthewes' executor was 


to pay the remaining third. He also asked to be reheved of his 
disbursements, which had amounted to ^^400. The three Justices 
who reported the matter to the Council were of opinion that 
Betton's petition should be allowed, and that he should hand 
over the buildings on being reimbursed for his expenses thereon. 
This certificate was approved by the Council. 

The Council in the Marches had also to deal with matters 
mentioned in the following Acts (which are enumerated in the 
instructions of 1586) : 

The Act against usury. 

The Act for the maintenance and increase of tillage. 

The Act against the dressing and eating of flesh upon the 
Fridays, Saturdays, and fish-days and other times prohibited. 

The Act against alehouse keepers not licensed. 

The Act touching tanners, curriers, and other artificers occupy- 
ing the cutting of leather. 

The Act for the preservation of woods. 

In the instructions to Lord Zouch, 1602, most of the above 
Acts are mentioned, and a few others are added — e.g. 

The Act that timber shall not be felled to make coals for the 
burning of iron. 

The Act against erecting and maintaining of cottages. 

The Act concerning the buying and selling of Rether beasts. 

The Act against the decaying of towns and houses of 

The loss of the records of the Council is for no reason more 
to be regretted than for the light they would have thrown on 
the economic condition of Wales and the Border in the sixteenth 
and seventeenth centuries. The chance preservation of the 
Shrewsbury Tolls case described above is enough to show 
the seriousness of the loss, particularly for the history of the 
Welsh cloth manufacture and the inclosure movement in the 


The history of the Council in the Marches has been traced in 
the preceding chapters. It remains to state how far the existing 
evidence enables us to answer the following questions : What 
was the Council's origin ; what purpose was it meant to serve ; 
in what relations did it stand to the central and local authorities ; 
why did it become unpopular, and what measure of success did 
it achieve ? 

To deal first with the question of origin. The Act of 1543 
(34 & 35 Hen. VIII., c. 26) clearly gave a statutory basis to 
a body which since the reign of Edward IV. had exercised 
jurisdiction in Wales and the Marches. But was this Council 
established by Edward IV. a totally new body, or was it a 
development of an existing institution ? The evidence stated 
in Chapter I. points to the view that the Council in the Marches 
arose out of the Prince's Council, which had existed ever since 
the time of the first English Prince of Wales for the purpose 
of administering his estates.^ This Council would in the ordinary 
course of things have authority in the Principality only ; it was 
therefore necessary to confer by commission special powers in 
the Marches, the exercise of which would be facilitated by the 
fact that Edward IV., as heir of the Mortimers, was himself the 
chief Marcher Lord. Thus the Principality and the Marches were 
united under one rule, and an important step was taken towards 
the union of England and Wales. The language of the earliest 
writers who deal with the origin of the Council is quite consistent 

See the " Table of the Councillors of the Princes of V7ales." Gairdner, 
Letters and Papers of the Reign of Henry VIII., Vol. XIV., Part I. 518. 

269 * 


with this view; all of them mention the sending of Prince Edward, 
and, after him. Prince Arthur, for the purpose of ensuring order 
in the Marches. But the further question arises, how was it 
that a Council which began as the Prince's Council came to be 
the Council of the Lord President ? The answer to this must 
be conjectural, owing to the scantiness of the authorities for the 
Council's history in the reign of Henry VII., when the change 
seems to have taken place. The main reason probably is that 
both Prince Arthur and the Princess Mary ^ were minors when 
sent to take the nominal Government of Wales and the Border, 
and that both held office for only a short time. After Mary's 
withdrawal, however, just as after the death of Prince Arthur, 
the Lord President was bound to come to the front, for the 
simple reason that during more than a century there was no 
Prince of Wales.^ By the reign of James I. the office of Lord 
President had been fully developed, but the traditional connection 
of the Council with the Prince of Wales is often mentioned by 
those who upheld its jurisdiction over the four counties. 

The purpose for which the Council grew up was to repress 
disorder in Wales and the Marches. There was ample need 
for extraordinary measures. An analysis of the cases of crime 
mentioned in Bishop Lee's letters shows that the worst districts 
within his jurisdiction were those that ultimately formed the 
counties of Radnorshire, Montgomeryshire, and Denbighshire. 
The following lordships are repeatedly mentioned as haunts of 
criminals : Elvael, Arwystli, Kerry, Caedewen, and Cyfeiliog. 
According to Lee, Presteign was where " the thieves were 
thickest," while the sanctuaries of Wigmore and Bewdley served 
as refuges for criminals who evaded justice. Almost as turbulent 
were the lordships of Oswestry and Powys. A list of crimes 
drawn up by Thomas Holt, Attorney in the Marches, shows 
that the Earl of Worcester's lordships in South Wales {e.g. 
Chepstow and Gower) were in much the same state as the 

' Mary does not seem to have been formally created Princess of Wales, 
though outside purely legal documents she was so stj'led. 

- Henry was created Prince of Wales in February, 1503 ; his namesake, 
the son of James I., was created Prince of Wales in June, 1610. 


lordships in the north. ^ If such was the condition of the March 
districts, that of the old Welsh shires was little better ; indeed, 
Lee did not scruple to affirm that " Merionethshire and Cardigan- 
shire are as ill as the worst part of Wales, although they are 
shire ground." In the absence of more than casual references 
no absolute conclusions can be drawn, but the general impression 
gained from the extant evidence is that the Marcher Lordships 
of northern and central Wales were the most disorderly, but 
that the shires were in little better case, while the adjoining 
English counties were injuriously affected by their neighbours' 

Up to the middle of the sixteenth century the main work 
of the Council was to punish lawlessness with which the 
Common Law Courts were powerless to deal. During the 
succeeding half century it acted both as a judicial and also as 
an administrative body, the instrument of the Privy Council 
in Wales and the Marches. During this period the dignity of 
the Council increased, and its organisation became fixed ; but 
the cases with which it dealt were less serious than in earlier 
years, and by the end of the century its decline had begun. In 
the seventeenth century it was mainly a Court for the settlement 
of petty suits, and the elaborate establishment which had 
descended from the days when princes had kept Court at 
Ludlow seemed unnecessary. 

The area of the Council's jurisdiction was a debatable question. 
The words of the Statute of 1543, quoted on p. 44, might be 
interpreted to cover the Border in general or the old Marcher 
Lordships only. There can be little doubt that the intention of 
the statute was to include the four English counties, in which the 
Council had exercised jurisdiction, and in which its sessions had 
for the most part been held. To include only the old Marcher 
Lordships now joined to the Border counties would surely have 
emphasized a distinction which it was the very object of the Act 
of Union (1536) to remove. If the Council was to exist at all, its 
jurisdiction over the four English counties could hardly be 

' For the ownership of the Marcher Lordships in the reigns of Henry VII. 
and Henry VIII., see Appendix IV. 


severed from its jurisdiction over Wales. But the controversy of 
the seventeenth century, though in form concerned with the 
jurisdiction over the four English counties, really raised the 
question of discretionary governments in general. In this, as in 
so many cases, broad constitutional issues were argued on the 
narrowest legal grounds. 

The point of most permanent interest in the Council's history 
is its relation to the central and local authorities. It was sub- 
ordinate to the Privy Council and the Star Chamber ; but it 
exercised a considerable measure of control over local Courts and 
local officials, especially sheriffs and justices of the peace. It 
was thus a link between the central and the local government, 
and also facilitated the working of the new institutions created 
for Wales by the legislation of Henry VIII. 

The Privy Council was the body that determined the powers 
to be exercised by the Council in the Marches, for it drew up the 
instructions received by each Lord President on entering office. 
Constant supervision was exercised by the Privy Council over the 
subordinate body. One of the special duties of the Secretary of 
State was to acquaint himself with " the power and form of 
proceeding at the Council of the Marches of Wales and the 
Council of the North." ^ The Lord President or his deputy was 
in frequent communication with the Privy Council, and was 
bound to send up to it every Hilary Term accounts of the fines 
imposed by his Court. The Council of the Marches was a 
convenient body for the examination of accused persons : in 
Bishop Lee's time it exercised summary jurisdiction, even in- 
flicting the death penalty ; but in the reign of Elizabeth, and still 
more in the seventeenth century, serious cases were nearly always 
dealt with by the Privy Council, the Star Chamber, or the Courts 
of Common Law. Numerous references occur to the sending up 
of prisoners to the Privy Council for further hearing or for 
punishment. Many trifling cases, however, arising out of 
petitions addressed to the Privy Council, were referred to the 
Council of the Marches for decision. Naturally some clashing 
of jurisdictions resulted ; instances are not rare of a person being 
• S.P.D., Eliz., CCLXXIV., p. ii8. 


summoned to appear at the same time before both tribunals. 
In such cases the Council of the Marches was directed to rescind 
its order. Tlie fact that a case might be begun before either 
Council was sometimes used by litigants for their own ends, as 
when the opponents of certain Ludlow burgesses secured post- 
ponement of their case on the pretence that it was to be heard 
before the Privy Council.^ 

The dignity and efficiency of the Council in the Marches 
were jealously v.atched over by the superior body. In drawing. 
up instructions and orders care was taken to secure the 
advice of experienced persons ; the payment of respect to the 
Lord President and Council was strictly enforced, and persons 
guilty of contempt were compelled to make apology.^ At the 
same time the Privy Council had no scruple in censuring 
the tendency of the subordinate body to disobey instructions, 
especially in failing to execute the Recusancy Laws and in 
encroaching on the jurisdiction of the Common Law Courts.^ 
At times the reversal of proceedings before the Council of the 
Marches was ordered on the ground that undue severity had 
been shown.^ As a rule such reprimands were received without 
protest, but occasionally the Council of the Marches ventured to 
express resentment.^ In spite of occasional jars the relations 
between the two bodies were on the whole harmonious. The 
Council of the Marches relieved the Privy Council of many 
trivial cases, and in its early days especially did work that could 
be done effectively only by local officials. An expression of more 
than merely conventional gratitude may be read in the Privy 
Council's letter to Whitgift, thanking him for his services as 
Vice-President during Sir Henry Sydney's absence in Ireland. 

The Council of the Marches was also useful in carrying out 
the administrative work of the Privy Council. Government, 
in the sixteenth century tended to become " universal, constant 

' A.P.C., Vol. XXIV., p. 260. 

- Ibid., Vol. IX., p. 165; Ibid., Vol. X., pp. 2o6, 217; and Council 
Register under date October 20, 1619. 
3 Ibid., Vol. XII., pp. 27 and 59. 
* Ibid., Vol. XIV., pp. 49 and 187. ^ /^/^^ Vol. IX., p. 331. 


and penetrative " ; ^ hence the administrative duties of the Lord 
President and his colleagues were extremely varied. On the 
military and economic side these duties have already been 
described ; but the Council was utilized for many other purposes. 
Proclamations were sent down to the Lord President for pub- 
lication in Wales and the Border; he was expected to suppress 
false and seditious rumours, and to strengthen the hands of 
the Government in every possible way. Among the mis- 
cellaneous duties devolving upon him may be mentioned the 
collection of money for the repair of St. Paul's, the supervision 
of certain royal forests, the removal of weirs and stakings in 
the Severn, and the arrangements for an Eisteddfod." Just 
as the Privy Council deliberated on all affairs of State, so in 
his small sphere the Lord President of Wales was responsible 
for the good administration of the counties within his juris- 
diction. Perhaps his position cannot better be summed up than 
in a letter to the Earl of Bridgewater from the Vice-Admiral of 
North Wales. " Nothing within this y"" jurisdiction of Wales 
cann be strange to y'' Lo^, for that y"" Lqp is the true Center 
wher all o'' lines meete, and what is w%in the Knowledg of 
any man of qualitie and understanding wilbe sure to finde a 
way unto you." ^ 

Throughout its history the Council of the Marches was closely 
connected with the Star Chamber. The two Courts existed 
primarily for the same purpose, the repression of disorder for 
which the Common Law was inadequate, and they were alike 

' Prothero, Statutes and Constitutional Documents, p. ci. 

^ A.P.C., Vol. VII., p. 8i (proclamation of peace between the Queen, 
the French, and the Scots); S.P.D., Vol. 1547-S0, Vol. II., Mary, 
January, 1 554 (articles of the treaty with Spain to be declared to the 
people) ; Bridgewater MSS., Welsh Council Papers, 80 (repair of St. 
Paul's); ibid., Royal Papers, No. 88 (Forests); Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 
14905, and Mostyn MSS., Hist. MSS. Commission Report on MSS. in 
the Welsh Language, Vol. I., 1898, p. 291 (Eisteddfod of 1568 and that 
of 1594); Hist. MSS. Commission Report X., Parts III. and IV., Mr. Lloyd 
Gatacres MSS. (orders for the survey of the Severn within Salop). 

^ Bridgewater MSS., Welsh Shrievalty Papers, Bundle VI., No. 193. 


in many points of procedure, as well as in the cases they tried 
and the punishments they imposed.^ This resemblance in the 
powers of the two bodies caused some complications, as is seen 
by the complaint of the practice by which rich men, committing 
outrages on poor men, had recourse to the Star Chamber and 
procured a suit against them. " We dare not stay it," adds 
the writer (a member of the Council in the Marches), " for 
that the ho : Coort is ffirst possest thereof." In cases with which 
either Court was competent to deal it seems that the Star 
Chamber exercised jurisdiction when persons of rank were 
•concerned," the Council of the Marches when the litigants 
were poor men, or where a local hearing seemed convenient. 
Hence offenders were often sent up to the Star Chamber for 
trial after examination before the Council ; often, too, a case 
that had been begun in the Marches would be removed to 
London. But instances of the converse proceeding are to be 
found as well. Among the Welsh Council Papers 13 (Bridge- 
water MSS.) is a " Digest of Cases in the Star Chamber from 
Richard II. to 36 & 37 Elizabeth," in the handwriting of Lord 
Chancellor Ellesmere. Under the reign of Henry VIII. are 
entries to the effect that all matters of Cheshire depending in the 
Star Chamber are to be remitted to the Council in the Marches, 
that matters arising in North Wales and South Wales and the 

' Lansdowne MSS. 6o, fif. 103-12 (pp. 7 and 9); ibid., 22, ff. 166-70; 
ibid. 45, ff. 8-1 1. Cott. MSS. Vit., C. i., ff. 197-204. Pembroke's Instruc- 
tions, Lansdowne MSS. 49, ff. 197-207, Art. 45. 

^ A noteworthy case that was tried before the Star Chamber, though 
the parties belonged to the Marches, is commented on in Mr. Leadam's 
recent volume of Select Cases in the Star Chamber, 1477- 1509. The 
petitioner, Lady Strange, complains that Humphrey Kenaston and others 
had committed trespass on her Lordship of Ellesmere. As she was "a 
lady marchys after the Custome of the Marchez of Wales having juris- 
dicion and power of the Courtes there," she thought it neither " semyng 
nor convenient " to bring a suit within her own Court, but petitioned 
for letters of Privy Seal to be directed to Kenaston to appear before the 
King, i.e. in the Star Chamber. The case is of special interest as showing 
how the Courts of the Marcher Lordships were superseded by extra- 
ordinary Courts. The date of the case is 1508, i.e. during the Presidency 
of Bishop Smyth. Had the complainant been a person of less importance, 
it would have probably come before him. 


Marches are to be committed with the original books thereof to 
the Council of the Lady Princess, that a certain George Kynaston 
is to appear before the Council of the Marches of Wales and 
to abide their order, and that a case depending in the Star 
Chamber and also in the Marches of Wales is dismissed to the 
latter Court. In their decline, as during the period of their activity, 
the two Courts were closely linked. Much of the unpopularity of 
the smaller body arose from its resemblance to the Court, which 
in the seventeenth century was a hated instrument of the royal 
prerogative. In the many articles of complaint against the 
Court of the Marches its resemblance to the Star Chamber 
is nearly always mentioned, and it is not surprising that they 
were overthrown together. 

Before passing to the relation of the Council to local bodies,. 
some reference must be made to the parallel jurisdiction 
exercised by the Council of the North. Both bodies were 
established to check lawlessness in specially disturbed districts, 
both did good service at first, and both incurred unpopularity 
in the seventeenth century, when the existence of prerogative 
Courts was deemed incompatible with the working of the 
ordinary legal system. Both were under the supervision of the 
Privy Council, and acted according to its instructions. But 
the Council of the Marches was the older and more important 
body; it had also a statutory basis, while the Council of the 
North was erected (after the Pilgrimage of Grace in 1536) solely 
by royal prerogative. The Presidents of the Northern Council 
were, with the great exception of Wentworth, men of no special 
note, and their position, as compared with that of the Lords 
President of Wales, must have been weakened by the existence 
of the office of Warden of the Northern Marches, who per- 
formed many of the military duties incumbent on the Lord 
President of Wales. The powers of the Council of the North 
were also less extensive than those of the Council in the 
Marches ; e.g. it could not punish treason. There was also some 
difference as to the authority by which various cases were dealt 
with. The Council of the North had two distinct commissions, 


one for causes criminal, and one for causes civil. The Council 
of the Marches was empowered to hear all manner of complaints 
civil and criminal exhibited by poor persons unable to sue at 
Common Law. In the instructions to the Council of the North 
are several references to the older body on such points as the 
need of due severity against notable offenders and the efificacy 
of fines as punishments. These instructions, while in their 
general tenor resembling those to the Welsh Council, lay special 
stress on such matters as recusancy and the conversion of tillage 
into pasture.^ The cases before the two Councils seem to have 
been of much the same character, and the same complaints 
were raised against both of an unwarranted extension of 
jurisdiction. In the Four Counties controversy the necessity 
for upholding the authority of both Councils was often 
mentioned, and during the personal government of Charles I. 
efforts were made to increase their dignity and power.^ 

At the head of the local bodies supervised by the Council of 
the Marches come the Courts of Great Sessions instituted by the 
Act of 1543. The purpose of this Act was to utiHse the existing 
judicial machinery, and extend it over the whole of Wales. 
The Justice of Chester (whose office can be traced back at least 
to the reign of Stephen) was the chief of the four Justices 
appointed by the Act, each of whom had a separate circuit 
consisting of three counties.^ He and his fellows were members 
of the Council of the Marches. Indeed, the Justice of Chester 
was always the chief working member, and was often Vice- 
President. The Council fixed the legal fees of the Courts, and 
in various ways exercised supervision over them. Thus in 1573 
it was ordered by the Privy Council to see that there were two 

' S.P.D., Eliz. Addenda, 1566-79, pp 462-6. Lansdownc MSS. 45, 
flf. 8-1 1. Cott. MSS., Vit., C. i., ff. 197-204. Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. Eg. 
2790, ff. 30, ct. seqq. 

- Gardiner, History of England, Vol. VII., p. 239. Rymer XIX. 410' 
cf. pp. 155-6. 

' See p. 45. Full details respecting the Great Sessions will be found 
in Rhys and Brynmor Jones, The Welsh People (ed. 1902), pp. 377-9, 383, 
386-92 ; also in Dr. Henry Owen's article on " English Law in Wales and 
the Marches," Y Cymmrodor, Vol. XIV. 


Justices in each circuit at the Great Sessions, and that they 
attended in person and heard causes of prisoners before civil 
causes.^ Care was taken, in issuing instructions to the Council,, 
to provide for the absence of the legal members on circuit : 
on one occasion Fabian Phillips (Justice of Assize for South 
Wales) was excused from following the circuit in order to attend 
at the Council during the illness of the Lord President, the 
Earl of Pembroke ; but a caution is added that this was not to 
be made a precedent. The best description of the working of 
the Great Sessions and their relations to the Council of the 
Marches in the sixteenth century is given in George Owen's 
Dialogue on the Government of Wales. He points out the 
inconvenience of holding the Great Sessions in Lent, when oats 
are being sown, and in August and September, during the corn 
harvest. He adds that the Justices do not give enough time 
to hearing equity cases, and that many suitors are compelled to 
come before the Council of the Marches, which gives judgment 
more speedily and at less expense. Appeals in personal actions 
lay from the Courts of Great Sessions to the Council. Instances 
of conflict of jurisdictions between the two bodies are not 
common,^ though we hear many complaints in general terms of 
persons being drawn from remote parts of Wales to attend the 
Council. But it is obvious that sessions held twice a year in 
each circuit for six days at a time were inadequate to deal with 
the mass of legal business arising out of the rapid economic 
changes which took place in sixteenth-century Wales. This fact, 
ns justifying the Council's existence, is dwelt on both by George 
Owen and by the unknown writer quoted on pp. 164-5. 

Besides supervising the Great Sessions, the Council exercised 
authority over the Courts of the various boroughs within its 
jurisdiction. From the extant correspondence with borough 
authorities we get some insight into the kind of suits that 
the Council most frequently decided. Some hundreds of 
such documents exist among the records of Shrewsbury, 
Ludlow, Hereford, and doubtless of other places in the 

' A.P.C., Vol. VIII., p. 141, and Vol. XIV., pp. 143-4. 
= Ibid., Vol. XII., p. 115. 


Marches. They certainly show a tendency on the part of the 
Council to encroach on the borough Courts ; but it must be 
remembered that one of the instructions to the Council was 
to punish the misdemeanours of mayors and bailiffs/ a clause 
which points to the prevalence of partiality and injustice in 
the inferior Courts. Further, in many cases the Council afforded 
relief which suitors, especially if poor, could not otherwise obtain. 
That abuses were Hkely to occur in these borough Courts may 
be gathered from Owen's complaint of the excessive number of 
corporate towns in Wales having private courts of record for 
personal actions to any amount. " There are in Wales yet," 
he writes, "a multitude of very meane villages scarce having 
six houses or Cottages, and yet are allowed for corporations and 

Not only local Courts but also local officials were controlled 
by the Council. The sheriffs of Wales and the Border counties 
were often in the sixteenth century members of the Council, 
as may be seen by a comparison of the lists of councillors with 
the Record Office list of sheriffs of England and Wales. Out 
of twenty-six councillors enumerated in Lord Zouch's instructions 
(July 7, 1 602), exclusive of peers, bishops, justices, and the Queen's 
Second Secretary, nineteen were at some period sheriffs of 
counties on the Border or in Wales. By the Statute of 1543 
Welsh sheriffs were nominated yearly by the Lord President, 
Council, and Justices of Wales, or three of them, the Lord 
President being one. They were bound to execute all lawful 
commands of the Lord President and Council. Several letters 
referring to the nomination of Sheriffs are extant in the Welsh 
Shrievalty Papers (Bundle VI.) among the Bridgewater ]\ISS. 
Some of these are lists of leading gentry, with notes as to their 
fitness for office, e.g. " John Vaughan of Glan y Llyn, Esq. very 
fitt for estate, not for his discretion, but his wife discreete." 

' See p. 91 ; also Lansdowne MSS. 60, ff. 103-12. Hist. MSS. Commission, 
15th Report, App., Part X., p. 62 (a letter bidding the bailifls of Shrewsbury 
come before the Council with their charters to justify their imprisonment of a 
certain petitioner). Dovaston MS., f. 128 (reference to the Council of a 
dispute between the Aldermen, Bailiffs, and Burgesses of Denbigh con- 
cerning the interpretation of their charter). 


Others are letters from persons who desire to escape the burden 
of serving, such as Mr. Joas Goschalke, a London merchant, 
who alleges that " he understandeth little of the Lawes of y*^ 
Lande and lesse of the gouernement of this Country," and that 
" hee by a great mischaunce had a greate parte of his skull broken 
and taken away : whereby his understanding and memory are 
much impaired, and is neare 60 yeares old, and weake and 
infirme of body." By the Instructions of 1586 the Council was 
empowered to punish sheriffs and jurors guilty of evicting those 
who had been secured by the Council's order in the possession of 
disputed land. A sheriff was also empowered to break into 
the house where any person was living who disobeyed the 
Council's order. Sheriffs were to aid the Council's pursuivants 
on pain of the Queen's high displeasure, and they were to arrest 
all disobedient persons and send them under guard either to 
the Queen, the Privy Council, or the Council of the Marches. 
From George Owen's Dialogue we gather that supervision of 
the Welsh sheriffs was highly necessary, owing to their practice 
of erecting new Hundred Courts (under a wrong construction 
of 34 & 35 Hen. Vin., c. 26) for purposes of extortion. The 
Council, he says, had grievously fined sheriffs for keeping such 
Courts, and in Brecknockshire the practice had been stopped. 
During Lord Eure's Presidency a special arrangement was adopted 
from the practice prevailing in the Council of the North, by which 
the Council undertook some of the formal duties of sheriffs, e.g. 
returns respecting proclamations and so forth. At first many 
sheriffs refused to allow this innovation, but in the end they 
consented. Though no one but the under-sheriffs was prejudiced, 
the Council's action was attacked in Parliament as an injury 
to the subject, seeing that by law proclamations should go into 
the country that parties might take notice of them. By the Earl 
of Bridgewater's Presidency the relations between the Council 
and the sheriffs were greatly strained, and numerous instances 
occur in the Bridgewater MSS. of direct refusals by the sheriffs 
t o carry out the Council's orders. 

A close connection may be traced between the Council of the 
Marches and the characteristic local official of Tudor times, the 


Justice of the Peace. By the Statute of 1543 Welsh Justices of 
the Peace were to be appointed by the Chancellor of England 
on the advice of the President, Council, and Justices of Wales, or 
three of them. The Lord President was expected to choose 
suitable persons, and to keep them up to their work. He and the 
chief members of his Council were usually on the Commissions 
of the Peace for Wales and the Border counties. From the 
Liber Pacis of x6 Eliz.^ it is seen that Sir Henry Sydney was on 
the Commission for Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, 
Worcestershire, Cheshire, the twelve counties of Wales, Monmouth- 
shire, and the county of Haverfordwest. Other Councillors 
occur as often ; e.^. Sir John Throckmorton, Justice of Chester, 
was on the Commission for all the counties above mentioned, 
and for Warwickshire as well. Sir H. Chomley for the same 
nineteen counties as Sir Henry Sydney, and William Gerrard for 

While the Council had its prototype in the Council of the 
Princes of Wales, which dated back to the thirteenth century, 
and superseded the Marcher Courts of still earlier date, it was 
also closely linked with an office of purely Tudor origin, that 
of Lord Lieutenant. The Lord President was, as a rule. Lord 
Lieutenant of the counties of Wales and usually of the 
Border counties as well.- It was in this capacity that he per- 
formed his mihtary duties. In the seventeenth century, especially 
after the Restoration, the Lord President's duties were merely 
those of a lord lieutenant on an extensive scale. 

Such are the chief points of contact between the Council of the 
Marches and various central and local authorities. Two questions 
remain to be answered : why did it become unpopular, and what 
must be our estimate of its work as a whole.? Its later un- 
popularity seems to have been due partly to its failure to adhere 
to the Instructions, its financial carelessness leading to extortion, 
its tendency to encourage informers, to encroach on the Common 
Law Courts, and to punish offences already dealt with by the 
Ecclesiastical Courts. It was also affected by the odium in- 
curred by the Star Chamber, whose shadow it was held to be. 
' Brit. Mus. Add. MSS., Eg. 2345. - See p. 252, footnote. 


Between it and the Courts at Westminster there was a deep-seated 
jealousy, based partly on professional grounds, partly on the 
conviction that prerogative Courts were unconstitutional. The 
claim of the Court of King's Bench that prohibitions lay thence 
into the Marches of Wales led to the lengthy controversy 
described in Chapter V., and probably contributed as much as 
anything else to the Council's inclusion in the Star Chamber 
Act of 1 64 1. Those who upheld the Council insisted that it was 
accountable only to the King and his ministers, and held with 
Wentworth that the jurisdiction of Courts was a matter with 
which the subject had no concern. They were undoubtedly 
right in arguing that the judges at Westminster were not the 
proper authorities to deal with such disputed questions, which 
ought to have been decided on broad constitutional grounds. 
The real question at issue was whether exceptional jurisdictions 
such as those in Wales and the North were supported in 
the interests of the community or merely out of jealousy 
for the King's prerogative. On the whole, it would seem that 
in the seventeenth century the second motive was the 

But the unpopularity of the Council in the seventeenth century 
must not overshadow the fact that it had once done useful work. 
The fairest estimate of it is to be found not in official documents, 
but in George Owen's Dialogue, where it is described as "the 
very place of refuge for the poore oppressed of this Country of 
Wales to flie unto. And for this cause it is as greatly frequented 
with sutes as any one Court at Westminster whatsoever, the 
more for that it is the best cheape Court in England for fifees 
and there is great speed made in triall of all causes." The 
writer frankly admits that many advocate the abolition of the 
Court as no longer necessary, but he strongly holds that " some 
defectes being reformed it is so necessary a Court for the quiet 
gouernm't of that Countrie as w'thout the same Wales would 
be turned into her former Chaos of troubles." In no part of the 
kingdom had such rapid changes taken place during the sixteenth 
century as in Wales ; the people, according to Owen, had changed 
' in heart within, and the land had altered in hue without, from 


evil to good and from bad to better.' In bringing about this 
improvement the chief factor was no doubt the Tudor poUcy of 
abolishing invidious distinctions between Welshmen and English- 
men ; but some credit must also be given to an institution which 
did much to repress the disorder, which would otherwise have 
kept the country poor and backward. Had the Council's existence 
come to an end with the sixteenth century it would probably 
have been remembered with gratitude ; by lasting nearly a 
century too long it gained an evil reputation for extravagance and 
oppression. Its work had long ago been done, and its abolition 
in 1689 was but the tardy recognition of the truth that the 
turbulent Wales of the fifteenth century had been transformed 
into a country as law-abiding as any part of England. 



The title of the Council varied greatly ; the full official style in 
its later years was that given on p. i of the Introduction — viz- 
the Court of the Council (or " the Council " simply) established 
in (or " of " simply) the Dominion and Principality of Wales 
and the Marches of the same. The members at first were 
spoken of as " Commissioners of the Lord Prince " (Owen and 
Blakeway, History of Shrewsbury, Vol. I., p. 262, temp. Prince 
Arthur). In Princess Mary's time they were " the King's Com- 
missioners of Council with my ladie prince's grace in the 
Marches of Wales " ; or, more shortly, the prince's (j.e. princess's) 
Council {Ibid., Vol. I., p. 305). After the divorce the style was 
altered to " The Council (or the Commissioners) of our lord 
the King in the Marches of Wales" {Ibid., Vol. I., p. 311). 
After the Act of 1543 the commonest title was the " Council of," 
or "in," the Marches (of Wales), or sometimes the "Council of 
Wales" simply (A.P.C, Vol. XVIIL, p. 257, Vol. X., p. 375, and 
S.P.D., 1547-80, p. 108). In the seventeenth century, when the 
jurisdiction over the four Border counties was in question, the 
upholders of the Council laid stress on including the word 
" Marches " in the title. As the Council was both a judicial and 
administrative body, we find the words Court and Council used 
indiscriminately — e.g. the Court of Wales, or of the Marches (of 
Wales), or, again. Her Highness' Court in the Marches of Wales 
(A.P.C, Vol. XV., p. 375, Lansdowne MSS. 155, f. 235). 
Strictly speaking, the word "Court" was applied to the members 
of the Council in their judicial capacity. 

The Lord President's title was equally variable, as is shown 



by the following list : Lord President of the Marches of Wales 
{A.P.C., Vol. XV., p. 195); President of the King's Majesty's 
Council in the Marches of Wales {Ibid., Vol. I., p. 385); Lord 
President of Wales (S.P.D., 1547-80, p. 126); President of the 
Council of Wales {Ibid., p. 108) ; Lord President of the Council 
established in the Marches of "Wales (Council Register, March 9th, 
1632); Lord Deputy of the Marches of Wales (rare, A.P.C., 
Vol. IIL, p. 427). 



Name. Date of appointment. 

Bishop Alcock 

1473 (Pat. Rolls, 13 Edw. IV., 

Pt. I, m. 3, 1473, 

November loth, Cal., 

p. 401). 

,, Smyth 

. 1501 

„ Blyth .... 


„ Voysey .... 


„ Lee . 


„ Sampson .... 


Duke of Northumberland 


Earl of Pembroke (ist time) . 


Bishop Heath 


Earl of Pembroke (2nd time) 


Bishop Bourne 


Lord Williams of Thame 


Sir Henry Sydney .... 


Earl of Pembroke (son of above) 

. 1586 

Lord Zouch .... 


Lord Eure .... 


Lord Gerard .... 


Earl of Northampton . 


Earl of Bridgewater 

. 1631 

Earl of Carbery . 

. 1661 

Marquis of Worcester (Duke of Be 


. 1672 

Earl of Macclesfield 

. 16893 

' Sir William Herbert became Earl of Pembroke in l55l' 

^ Lord Compton became Earl of Northampton in 1618. 

^ This list is largely based on Clive's Documents connected with the 
History of Ludlow, pp. 148-89. A list of the Justices of Chester (who 
usually acted as Vice-Presidents) is given in Ormerod's History of Cheshire, 
Vol. I., pp. 61-6. 




During the second half of the sixteenth century the number of 
ofiEicials connected with the Council of the Marches was large. 
After the Lord President came the Vice-President, the Justice 
of Chester, the Councillors and the Secretary. Next in im- 
portance was the Clerk of the Council, who, in the Earl of 
Pembroke's time, was also Clerk of the Signet and Register, 
though, as Pembroke remarks, there was no need for the latter 
office. Out of the clerk's office had grown a number of sub- 
ordinate posts. Another new official was the Clerk Examiner, 
who left his work to be done by a number of young " Clerks 
allowed," whose incapacity is severely censured by the Lord 
President in his description of the Court. Another leading 
member was Her Majesty's Attorney in the Marches, whose 
duty was to prosecute all cases concerning the Queen. His 
colleague, the SoHcitor, was bound to solicit the Queen's causes 
and to examine persons suspected of treason or felony. In 
addition there were the Clerk Receiver of the Fines, the Porter, 
the Serjeant-at-Arms, the Remembrancer, and the holder of a 
new and easy post called Hankie's office, who took fourpence 
a time for writing his name on certain bills. The Remembrancer's 
duty was to keep a list of criminal and finable causes to prevent 
the secret compounding of suits to the Queen's damage. The 
Counsellors at the Bar were by the Instructions of 1586 limited 
to eight, and the Attorneys of the Court to eighteen ; but there 
was a tendency for these numbers to be increased in spite of 
prohibitions. The remaining officials connected with either the 
Council or with Ludlow Castle were the Steward, the Marshal, 



the two Pursuivants, the Chaplain, the Armourer, the Keeper 
of the Castle. The long list ends with the Keeper of the Leads 
of the Conduit and the Keeper of the Clock. The duties attached 
to most of these offices were certainly not heavy, and many of 
them, especially in the Council's later da)'s, were discharged 
by deputy.^ 

The Justices of Chester were often men of considerable 
eminence. Other offices in the Council were filled at times by 
notable men, such as Whitgift when Bishop of Worcester, the 
Irish Chancellor Gerard, and the poet Samuel Butler. Fulk 
Greville, the friend of Sir Philip Sydney, also held office, first 
in 1576-7 and later in 1583, when he was made Secretary. 

The members of the Council were mostly drawn from the 
gentry of the Border counties and Wales, as miay be seen 
from a list of suitable persons submitted to Lord Burghley by 
the Earl of Pembroke.^ In it are such well-known Border names 
as Throckmorton and Poyntz (Gloucestershire), Packington 
(Worcestershire), Scudamore, Coningsby, and Croft (Hereford- 
shire), Corbet and Cornewall ^(Shropshire) ; while for certain 
Welsh counties are suggested various members of the great 
Herbert family, Thomas Mostyn and Sir Richard Bulkeley. 

' See Lansdowne MSS. 51, ff. 103-14, 2S, ft". 124-5, m> f- 16. Ashmolean 
MSS. 824 xxii. 

- Lansdowne MSS. 63, ff. 8S-9S. 




In the reign of Henry VII. the Marcher Lordships were, with 
unimportant exceptions, in the hands of the Crown, or of new 
famines who owed their rise to royal favour. By reference to the 
list of Ministers' Accounts in the Public Record Office for the 
reign of Henry VII. it will be seen that the royal possessions in 
Wales (exclusive of the Principality proper) formed a large 
proportion of the lands enumerated as Marcher Lordships in the 
Act of Union of 1536. The list is as follows : 



1. The Earldom of Pembroke and its 

members (including the lordships of 
Cilgerran, Llatistephan, Haverford- 

2. Brecon lordship and its members (in- 

cluding Hay)} 

3. Bromfield and Yale lordships. 

4. Caurse lordship (Cawes) (including 


5. Chirk and Chirkland. 

6. Elvell lordship (Elvael). 

7. GoldcUft (Goldcliff). 

8. Raglan and Penrose (Penrhos). 

9. Neivport lordship (including Went- 

llooge and Maghen).^ 
10. Ahergavenfiy lordship. 

Total of nineteen 
lordships included 
1 in the Crown pos- 
sessions and also 
mentioned in the 
Act of Union. 

' In the hands of the Crown during the minority of Edward, Duke of 
Buckingham ; cf. Campbell, Materials for the History of the Reign of 
Henry VII., Vol. I., p. 56. 

= Do,, Ibid., Vol. I., p. 184. » Do., Ibid., Vol. I., p. 95. 




Total of twenty- 
two lordships in- 
l eluded in the Crown 
possessions and 
also in the Act of 


The Earldom of March, including : 
Lordship of Builth. 
Cliiford. ^j 
Glasbury. !- 
Wynforton. j 
Denbigh lordship 
Dynas lordship (Dinas). 
Ewias Lacy. 
Comotoidour (Commothuder of the ,^ 

Union Act. 
Raydour (Rhayader). 
Knyghton (Knighton). 
Melleneth (Melenydd). 
Warthrenyon (Gwethronyon of the 

Union Act). 
Radnor. ^ 

Glandestre (Gladestry). (_ 
Prestheinde (Presteign). I 
Norton. J 

Chirbury Hundred. 

Halcetour (? Alcester of the Union Act). 
Wygmore (Wigmore). 

Thus forty-one lordships out of about one hundred and 
thirty-six mentioned in the Act of Union were in the hands of 
the Crown at various periods of the reign. The Earldom of 
Pembroke, which in the days of Yorkist power had been held 
by William Herbert, had passed to Jasper Tudor, on whose 
death in 1495 it came to Henry VH.'s second son Henry, then 
Duke of York.^ The lands of the Earldom of March passed to 
Henry VH. on the death of Richard IH., the head of the 

' Rot. Pari., Vol. VI., p. 552, Dugdale, Vol. II., pp. 242, 256, 257. Campbell 
Materials for the History of the Rtign of Henry VII., Vol. II., p, 281. P.R.O 
Rentals and Surveys fl 


Mortimer family.^ Holt, Bromfield, Yale, and Chirk had been 
held by Sir William Stanley, who had received from Richard III. 
a grant of various Welsh estates comprising the greater part 
of the present East Denbighshire, and had been confirmed 
in his possession by Henry VH.- These were forfeited to the 
king on his attainder in 1495. 

The above list, however, does not include all the Marcher 
Lordships in Crown hands. The lordships of Monmouth, 
Grosmont, Whitecastle, Skenfreth, Kidwelly, Greenfield, and 
Ogmore were parcel of the Duchy of Lancaster,^ while from 
incidental notices it appears that the Crown held in addition the 
small lordships of Cantreselly (Cantercelly), Glynbough, and 
Laugharne, while the moiety of the lordship of Magor was to 
revert to it on the death of Sir John Tiptoft.* The lordship of 
Ruthin was sold to the King by Richard, Earl of Kent, who had 
lost his fortune by gaming. 

This makes a total of fifty-two Marcher Lordships in Crown 
hands during the reign, or forty-four, deducting the Buckingham 
lands held during the duke's minority. 

The chief Marcher Lordships not in Crown hands were 
held by : 

{a) The Duke of Buckingham (as above). 

(^) The Earl of Derby, who held Moldesdale, Hopedale, and 
EUesmere (Brewer, Letters and Papers of the Reign of 
Henry VHL, IH. 2820). 

(c) The Earl of Worcester, husband of Lady Elizabeth Herbert, 

who in 1506 was made Baron Herbert of Raglan, Chepstow, 
and Gower. 

(d) Lord Powys, who held Powysland (./ Inq. P.M., H. VH., 

p. 421). 
During the reign of Henry VIL the process of acquisition 
by the Crown continued. Arustley (Arwystli) and Keviliock 

' Cf. the Statute 28 Hen. VIII., c. 39. 

- Rot. Pari., VI. 316. Pennant, Tours in Wales, ed. Rhys, Vol. I., pp. 267, 
348, 362. 

^ Campbell, ut supra, Vol. I., pp. 553, 564, 601, also 4S3 and 555. 
* Ibid., Vol. I., pp. 46, 79, 443, 487. 


(Cyfeiliog) were bought soon after Henry's accession, granted to 
his son Henry Fitzroy, Duke of Richmond/ but resumed on the 
latter's death. The attainder of the Duke of Buckingham in 152 1 
gave the Crown most of the lordships which formed the later 

The old families of the Welsh Marches had by the year 
1536 sunk into insignificance. For example, the family of Grey 
was so impoverished that the successor to the Richard Earl of 
Kent who sold Ruthin to Henry VH. did not take up his title. 
Joan, the heiress of the Strange family, married into the com- 
paratively new family of the Stanleys. In South Wales the 
leading house was that of the Herberts, which before the fifteenth 
century had been unimportant. The old Marcher names of 
Fitzwarren, Powys, and Arundel occur here and there in docu- 
ments referring to the Council of the Marches, but only as 
owners of insignificant lordships.^ 

' Brewer, Vol. X., No. 130. 

"^ e.g. P.R.O., Miscellanea of the Exchequer W: "Since Michaelmas one 
was slain in a lordship of Lord Fitzwaren." "A great riot on St. 
Andrew's day in Oswestrj', a lordship of the Earl of Arundel's." 


Arthel, 39 

Bondmen. See Villeinage 

Champerty, 124 

Comortha, 39, 50, 65, 97, 107, 117, 
119, 122, 222 

Corn supply, 259-62 

Council in the Marches of Wales, 
necessity for, 1-17 passim ; origin 
of, 18-48,269-70; development of, 
49-128 ; instructions to, 61, 89-96, 
133, 217 ; cases tried by, chaps, ii.- 
iii. and pp. 151-5 ; meeting-places, 
procedure, and financial system of, 
chaps, vii.-ix. passim ; administra- 
tive duties of, chap. x. ; officials of, 
288-9 ; relations with the Privy 
Council, etc., 97-105, 269-81 ; 
records of, vii.-viii., 18, 94. 117, 
119, 160- 1 ; title, 285-6; abuses 
in, 105-10 ; decline of, 129-65 ; 
attacks on jurisdiction of, 20, 
130-45, 148-65, 271, 277-8, 282 ; 
revival, 166 et seqq. ; abolition of, 
178-9; summary of its work, 269- 


Courts — 

Court of Admiralty, 144 

Court of Chancery, 127 

Court of the Duchy of Lancaster, 

Court of the Exchequer at Chester, 

Court of High Commission, 157, 

Court of Requests, 165 
Court of Star Chamber, 1-2, 60, 

92, 102, 127, 158-61, 165-6, 

272, 274-6, 281 

Courts — continued 

Courts of Common Law, 104, 108, 

121, 127, 130-45, 150, 157, 165, 

171, 232, 271-4, 281-2 
Courts of Great Sessions, 45, 106, 

159, 164, 179, 277-8 
Court of Wards, 159 
Ecclesiastical Courts, 122-5, ^57) 

Prerogative Court of Canterbury, 


Disclaiming, 13 

Exchequer, 241, 254 

Forcible entry, 97, 103-4 
Forestalling, 91, 222 

Gavelkind, 79 

Inclosures, 49, 93, 224, 259, 262-4, 

Juries, partiality of, 67-S 
Justices of the Peace, 46, 107-8, 
272, 280-1 

Legislation affecting Wales and 
the Marches, 11-14, 37-48, 72-3, 

i33-7> 157-60, 179 
Litigiousness of the Welsh, viii., 

Livery, 17, 92 
Lord-Lieutenant, office of, 147, 252-8, 

28 1 

Maintenance, 91, 98, 222 

Marches of Wales, formation, 2-6 ; 

March privilege, 6-10, 43-4, 164; 

disorder in the Marches, 11-17, and 

chaps. \.-\\\. passim ; ownership of 




Marcher Lordships, 290-3 ; warden- 
ship of the Welsh RIarches, 17 
Murder (and manslaughter), 14-16, 27, 
36-9S passim 

North, Council of the, So, 82, 136, 

144, 155, 158-60, 165, 272, 276-7, 

280, 2S2 
Northern Marches, wardenship of 

the, 17, 276 
Perjury, 38, 67, 91, 98, 122, 140, 

192, 215, 222 
Pilgrimage of Grace, 79-80, 276 
Piracy, 82, loo-i, 252, 256-7 
Privy Council, its relations with the 

Council in the Marches, 81-128, 

m>, i47-9> 256, 271-4 

Recusancy, 97, 101-2, iio-i, 121, 

125-6, 146, 273 
Regrating, 91, 222 
Retaining, 91, 106-7, 121 
Riots (routs and unlawful assemblies), 

13-16, 49-113/a.rj-m, 155, 212,222 
Robbery, 11-17, 27, 30, 38, 40, 49- 

1 1 3 passim 

Sheriffs, their i-elations with the 
Council in the Marches, 46, 91, 

Ship-money, 156 

Theft. See Robbery 
Title of lands, 90, 95, 154 
Treason, 92, 96-7, 276 

Villeinage, 35, 103 

Wales, conquest of, 2-6 ; condition 
before the Act of Union, 6-36 ; 
Tudor legislation affecting Wales, 
37-4S ; condition in the sixteenth 
century, 49-128 passim, esp. 88, 
106-7, 109, 121, 127, 279 ; con- 
dition in the seventeenth century, 
129-79 passim, esp. 156, 165 ; the 
Reformation in Wales, 76-S ; the 
forests of Wales and the Border, 
56, 150, 245-6; mining in Wales, 
146-7 ; cloth manufacture in Wales 
and the Border, 264-6 ; troops fur- 
nished by Wales for Ireland and 
the North, 147, 252-4, 256, 258-9 


Abergavenny, Lord of, 14 
Abergavenny, Lordship of, 290 
Aberystwith Castle, 37 
Alcock, John, Bishop of Worcester, 

Lord President (1473), I9> 23, 25-6, 

28-9, 31, 287 
Alina de Peshale, 7 ;/. 3 
Alyngton, William, 25 
Anglesey, 4, 9, 11, 33, 40-I, 45, 

72-3, 78, 124, 162, 171 
ap David, Griffith ap J., 203 
ap David, Oliver, 228 
ap Griffith ap Howell, James, 56 
ap Griffith, Sir Rhys, 55, 74-6 
ap Harry, Humfrey, 151 
ap Jenkin, David, 15 
ap Jevan, Meredith, 15 
ap Morice, Robert, 65 
ap Owen ap Merricke, Lewis, 105 
ap Rees, 97 
ap Rees, John, 267 
ap Rice, Edward, 97 
ap Rice, John Thomas, 68 
ap Rice, Robert, 57 
ap Richard Lloyd, David, 97 
ap Robert, Jevan, 15 
ap Robert, Owen, 97 
ap Thomas, Sir Rhys (Rice), 33, 37, 

Arlington, Lord, 173 
Arnulf, son of Roger of Montgomery, 

Arthur, Prince, 20, 23, 29-30, 49, 

52, 181, 184, 196-7, 202-3, 205, 

235, 270, 285 
Arundel, Bishop, 203 
Arundel, Earldom of, 4 

(1) Arundel, Earl of, 182 

(2) Arundel, Earl of, 293 
Arundel, Thomas, 54 

Arustley (Arwystli), 65-6, 292 

Ashridge, Herts, 151, 165 

Atkins, Mr., Attorney in the Court 

of the Marches, 117 
Avranches, Hugh of, 3 

Bacon, Sir Francis, 2, 130, 138, 
141-3. 265 

Bacon. Sir Nicholas, 132 

Ball, Mr., 159 

Bangor, Sg, iii 

Barbican, 151, 185, 250 

Barlow, Bishop, 76-7 

Barthol, 127 

Baskervile, Philip, 58 

Baskervile, Thomas, 58 

Bass, ]Mr., 1S6-7 

Bastwick, John, 157 

Bath and Wells. Bishop of (Gilbert 
Bourne), 81, 84 

Bath and Wells, Bishop of (Robert 
Stillington), 20 

Baxter, Richard, 2, 188 

Beale, Thomas, 243 

Beauchamp, Thomas, Earl of War- 
wick, 8 

Beaufort, Duchess of, 177 

Beaufort, Duke of, 176-8, 187, 287 

Beaumaris, 254 

Beaupie, Agnes, Edward, and John, 


Beck, Edward a, 75 

Bedford, Earl of, 252 

Bedford, Jasper, Duke of, 29 

Bekynshaw, Dr., 78 

Bell, Mr., 133 

Belleme, Robert of, 4-5, 181 

Belmeis, Richard de, 17 

Bennet, Secretary, 174. St'd Arling- 
ton Lord 




Bennys, Edmund, 98 

Berwick, 159 

Berwyn Mountains, 3 

Betton, John, 267-8 

Betts, John, 185 

Bevion, John, 233 

Bewdley. 29, 31, 37, 52, 62-3, 88, 
167, 180, 195, 196-200, 202, 204, 
.231, 235, 245, 270 

Eishop's Castle, 61, 1S3, 231 

Bissell, John, 169 

Black Abbey, 229 

Black Mountains, 3 

Blackwell Hall, London, 265 

Blakemere, Henry, 211 

Blount, Sir William, 187 

31yth (Blythe), Geoftrey, Bishop of 
Coventry and Lichfield, Lord Presi- 
dent (1512-24), 31, 33, 59,204,287 

Bodleian Library, 159 

Bohun, family of, 5 

Bohun, Mary de, 1 1 

Boleyn, Anne, 204 

Bolingbroke, Henry, li 

Bosworth, II 

Bothe, Charles, 30, 203 

Bothe, Mr., 233 

Botterell, Captain William, 194 

Bourne, Gilbert, Bishop of Bath and 
Wells, Lord President (1558), 21, 
81, 84, 2S7 

Brace, John (Johane), 32 

Bradvvardine Castle, 8 

Bradwey, 58 

JBrandon, Charles, Duke of Suffolk, 


Braose, family of, 5, 6 

Braose, William de, 7-9 

Brecknock (Brecon), 5, 34-7, 54, 70, 
72. 78, 175. 258, 290 

Brecknock Castle, 71 

Brecknock, county of, 41-2, 45, 147 
162, 280, 293 

Breda, 169 

Brenton, John, 99 

Brereton, Sir William, 186 

Brereton, Roger, 261 

Breteuil, 3 

Bridgeman (Bridgman), Sir John, 
129, 148, 193, 263 

Bridgenorth, 180, 215 

Bridgevvater, first Earl of. Lord Presi- 
dent (1631-42), 2, 21, 129, 148, 150, 
155, 161-5, 185, 246-51, 252 11. I, 
256-8, 274, 2S0, 287 

Bridge water, 3rd Earl of, 179 

Bringwood Forest, 246 

Bristol, TOO, 131, 133, 141, 169, 
244, 253-5, 260 

Britons, 145 

Bromfield. 9, 14, 290, 292 

Bromley, Mr., 201 

Bromley, Sir George, Justice of 
Chester, 58, 60, 89, 210 

Bromley, Sir Thomas, Solicitor- 
General, 99, 105 

Bromyard, 99 

Broune, John, 35 

Buckhurst, Lord, 103, 242 

Buckingham, Duke of, 34-5, 59, 
290, 292-3 

Builth, 5, 291 

Bulkeley, Sir Richard, 66, 71, 73, 
105, 2S9 

Burghley, Lord, 2, 36, III, 1 14, 122- 
3, 126, 251, 289 

Burleton, Plumfrey, 15 1 

Burnell, Thomas, 230, 234 

Burton, Henry, 157 

Butler, family of, ^6 

Butler, Samuel, 2, 173, 2S9 

Butts, Dr., 63 

Butts, John, 169 

Cade, Jack, 14 

Caedewen. See Kedewen 

Caerphilly Castle, 10 

Calais, 82, 10 1 

Calvert, Secretary, 146 

Cambridge, 23 ; colleges of : Peter- 
house, 23 ; Jesus College, 23 ; 
King's College, 31. Great St. 
Mary's, 23 

Camden, William, 141, 181 

Campion, Edmund, 99 

Camville, family of, 6 

Canterbury, Archbishops of : Thomas 
Bourchier, 20 ; William Warham, 
34 ; High Commission Court of, 
157; Prerogative Court of, 157 

Cantercelly, 36, 292 

Cantilupe, 5 

Cantreds, the four, 4 

Carbery, Countess of, 175, n.^ 

Carbery, 2nd Earl of, 2, 1 70-5, 1 79, 
187, 2S7 

Cardiff, 3, lOO 

Cardiff Castle, 82 

Cardigan, 5, 53, 146, 245 

Cardigan, county of, 9-10, 41-2, 45, 



58, 73, 147, 151, 162, 172, 253, 
265, 267, 271 

Carlisle, Bishop of (Edward Story), 

Carmarthen, 5, 8, 53, 55, 76, loi, 

146, 175 
Carmarthen, county of, 9-10, 41, 45, 
58, 125, 146-7, 156, 162, 172, 253-4 
Carnarvon, 10, 15, 33, 47 
Carnarvon Castle, 10, 72 
Carnarvon, county of, 9, 16, 40-1, 

45, 73, 124, 162, 171, 256 
Carus, Thomas, 131 
Castelton, 57 

Catherine of Aragon, 30, 59, 196 
Caurs (Cawes, Caurse), 6, 35-6, 103, 

Cecil, Sir William, 85-86. See 

Burghley, Lord 
Chamberlain, John, 129 
Chamberlaine, Sir Thomas, 189, 263, 

Chapuys, Eustace, 61, 74-6 
Charles I., 169, 1S8, 190, 198, 252, 

257, 277 
Charles II., 169, 195 
Charles V., 61, 74 
Charlton, Robert, of Whitton, 1 71 
Charlton, Sir Edward, of Powys, 28 
Chaworth, family of, 6 
Chelsea, 176 
Chepstow, 70, 270 
Cherwell, Richard, 230 
Chester, 3-6, 59, 68, 72, 78-9, 112, 

120, 132-3, 141, 215, 253-4, 265 
Chester, county of, 11, 24, 32, 34, 
37, 40, 67-8, 78, 131-3, 143, 178, 
263, 275, 281 
Chester, Court of the Exchequer of, 

Chester, Earldom of, 9 
Chester, Earl of, 8 
Chester, Justice of, 45, 138, 178, 
189, 190, 208, 213, 215, 230, 245, 
266, 277, 281, 287-9 
Cheturn, Charles, 179 
Chirbury Hundred, 291 
Chirk, 27, 44, loi, 263, 290, 292 
Chirkland, 65, 290 
Chokke, Sir Richard, 25 
Cholmeley, William, 53 
Cholmondeley (Chomley), Sir Hugh, 

215, 239, 281 
Church Stretton, 210 
Churchyard, Thomas, 180, 18S 

Cilgerran, 290 

Clare, Gilbert de, 5 

Clare, Ralph, 198-9 

Clare, Richard de, 5 

Clare, Walter de, 5 

Clarence, George, Duke of, 20 

Clarence, Lionel, Duke of, 1S2 

Clarendon, Earl of, 160, 174 

Clench, Francis, 104 

Clench, William, 104 

Clenche, John, 192 

Cliflord, 29 1 

Clun (Cloonesland), 6, 68, 183 

Clwyd, River, 4, 10 

Coke, Secretary, 156, 257 

Coke, Sir Edward, 43, 130, 138, 145 

Colchester, 169 

Comotoidour, 291 

Compton, Lord, Earl of Northampton, 

139, 287 
Coiinis, 1 50- 1, 186 
Connye, Thomas, 210 
Constantine, the Emperor, 144 
Conway, 10 
Conway Castle, 10, 72 
Conway, River, 4 
Conway, Secretary, 148 
Conway, Vale of, 15-16 
Corbet, family of, 6 
Corbet (Corbette), Jerome, 109 
Corbet, John, 103 
Corbet, Sir Andrew, 99, 109, 239, 

Cornewall (Comewaile), Thomas, 

43, 138, 1S9, 193 
Cornewall, Edmund, 192 
Cornewall, Sir Gilbert, 171 
Corno9a, Martin de, 74 
Cornwall, 24, 100, 253 
Corve-dale, 183 

Cother, — , Bailiff of Ludlow, 191 
Cotherington, Simon, 124 
Coventry, 79, 203, 207, 236, 265 
Coventry and Lichfield, See of, 31, 

Coytemore, Geoffrey, 25 
Cradock, Sir Matthew, 82 
Cranfield, Lionel, Lord Treasurer, 

Criccieth Castle, 10 
Croft, Sir Edward, 56, 5S-9, 61 
Croft, Sir Herbert, 137, 139, 145 
Croft, Sir James, 89, 114-15, 120 
Croft, William, 211 
Crofte, Thomas, 57 



Crofts, Sir Richard, 30 

Croke, Sir John, 130 

Cromwell, Oliver, 172 

Cromwell, Thomas, 3S, 56-7, 60, 

63-9> 71-3, 76, 7S, 236-7 
Crumpe, Thomas, 160 
Culmington, 250 
Cumberland, 159 
Cyfeiliog. See Keviliock 

Dacre, Lord, 20 

Daulbin, John, 170 

Davenham, 78 

Dean, Forest of, 3S 

Dee, River, 4, 10 

Demetus, 127 

Denbigh, 10, 41, 57, 66, 97, 279 «. i, 

Denbigh, county of, 42, 45, iii, 147, 

156, 162, 165, 17S, 263-4, 267, 

270, 292 
Denbighland, 72-3 
Derby, Earl of, 292 
Dere, Piers, 62 
Devereux, Sir Walter, of Ferrers, 25-6, 

Devon, 98, 253 
Dinan, Fulk de, 181 
Dinan, Joce de, 181-3 
Dingley (Dineley), Thomas, viii., 176 
Dohvyddelan, 16 
Dolwyddelan Castle, 15 
Dorchester, Secretary, 156 
Dorset, 253 
Dover, 195 
Dovvnes, John, 234 
Dryhurst, Richard, 226 
Dryslwyn, 175 
Dublin, 88 

Dudley, Lady Mary, 86 
Dudley, Robert, Earl of Leicester, 86 
Dugdale, Sir William, 205 
Duraunt, Hugh, 64 
Durham, Bishop of (Lawrence Bothe), 

Dyer, Sir James, 131 

Eames, Jane, 249 
Eccleston, Henry, 198, 247-51 
Edgecote, 82 
Edward L, 6-IO, 16, 47 
Edward H., 7, 20, 47 
Edward HL, 11, 47, 182 
Edward IV., 17-21, 23-4, 27-9, 142, 
183, 202, 269 

Edward V., 2, 20, 23, 28, 196, 202, 

211, 270 
Edward VI., 66, 82, 86, 206, 237, 264 
Edward the Black Prince, 20 
Edward, son of Henry VI., 20 
Edwardes, John, 263 
Edwardes, N., 249 
Edwards, Griffiths, 195 
Edwards, John, loi 
Edwards, John, 1 1 1 
Egerton, Lady Alice, 173 
Egerton, Sir Ralph, 58 
Eldersfield, 149 

Eleonora, sister of Charles V., 52 
Elizabeth, Queen, 53 n. 2, 76, 84, 129, 

131, 185, 197, 206, 215, 23S-9, 

252, 256 n.l, 263-4, 272 
Elizabeth, Saint, 255 
Ellesmere, 6, 275 n. 2, 292 
Ellesmere, Lord Chancellor, 275 
Elsmer, 33 

Elvell (Elvael), 57, 270, 290 
Ely, 23 

Emlyn Castle, 56 
England, 6, 46-7, 52, 269 
Englefield, Sir Thomas, 2, 30 71. 5, 60, 

61, 6^, 65, 77, 80 n. 2, 106, 108, 

Eton College, 31 
Eure (Ewer), Dame Mary, 193 
Eure, Lord President {1607-16), 129, 

137-8, 145, 148, 188, 198, 242, 

256, 265, 280, 287 
Eure, Sampson, 155 
Eure, Sir Francis, 149 
Europe, 88 
Evans, — , 233 

Evans (Evance), Thomas, 226 
Evans, Roger. 234 
Evesham, 167, 192 
Evioneth, 16 
Ewloe Wood (Park), 264 
Ewyas, 5, 291 
Exeter, 49 

Fareley (Farley), 130, 133 

Fawknor, William, 234 

P'ecamp, loi 

Feckenham Forest, 245, 262 

Ferrers, Lord, 34, 54-6, 58, 64, 66, 

68, 70-1 
Fisher, Bishop, 59 
Fisher, Richard, 190 
Fitzalan, family of, 6 
Fitzhamon, Robert, 5 



Fitzmaurice, 86 

FitzOsbern, William, 3 

Fitzroy, Ilenrj', Duke of Richmond, 

Fitzwarine, Fulk, 17 
Fitzwarren, Lord, 293 
Flint, county of, 9-10, 24-5, 32, 34, 

37, 41, 45, 132, 147, 165, 178, 25S, 

Fludd, Edward, 149 
Fog, Sir John, 20 
Fowler, Richard, 20 
Foxe, Edward, 192 
Fox (Foxe), Charles, Secretary of 

•the Council of the Marches, 89, 

188, 254, 267 
France, 6, 1S2, 254, 264 
Francis I., 52 
Fynes, Richard, 20 

Gateacre, William, 254 

Genevile, Geoffrey de, 6, 182, 185 

Genevile, Joan de, 182 

Gerard (Gerrard), Sir William, Vice- 
President of the Council in the 
Marches, 2, 19, 60, 106, 108- lo, 
206, 239, 289 

Gerard, Sir Gilbert, Attorney- 
General, 132 

Gerard, Lord, 129, 139, 287 

Germany, 6 

Giffard, John, 9 

Gilbert, Chancellor of the Duke of 
Buckingham, 34 

Gipcyans {i.e. gipsies), 66 

Giraldus Cambrensis, I41 

Gladestry, 291 

Glamorgan, county of, 42, 45, 57 «. 5, 
66, 106, 163, 169, 252 n. I 

Glamorgan, Lordship of, 5-6, 8 

Glasbury, 291 

Glendower, Owen, li, 17, 182 

Gloucester, 62, 77 n. 2, 90, 97-8, 
124, 134, 167-8, 180 

Gloucester, county of, 5, 8 n i, 12, 
26-8, 30, 32, 34, 38, 40, 42, 69, 91, 
120, 131 n. I, 134, 147-8, 160, 167, 
170-I, 173-4, 217, 264, 281 

Gloucester, Earldom of, 5 

Gloucester, Gilbert de Clare, Earl of, 9 

Gloucester, Richard, Duke of, 20, 27 
n. 3 

Gloucester, Statute of, 13 

Glyn, Dr., 73 

Glynbough, 292 

Goldclifif, 290 

Golden Grove, 1 72-3, 175 

Goring, Lord, 163 

Goschalke, Joas, 280 

Gostwicke, John, 237 

Gower (Gowersland), 5-6, 9 n. 2, 270 

Grafton, Richard, 141 

Green, John, 44 

Greenfield, 292 

Greenwich, 32, 34, 52 

Greville, Sir Fulke, 88, 2S9 

Grey de Wilton, Lord, 113 

Grey, Lady Catherine, 1 18 

Grey, Lady Jane, 118 

Griffith, — , 62 

Griffith, Ellis, 55, 69, 76 

Griffith, John ap David, 63 

Grimsliawe, Nicholas, 99 

Grosmont, 292 

Gruf, Margaret, 228 

Gruf, Richard, 228 

Gruff, Edward, 73 

Gwydir, 16 

Gwydir, family of, 15 

Gwynedd, 5 

Hacluyt, Thomas, 236 

Halcetour (Alcester?), 291 

Hale, R., 78 

Hales, Mr., 199 

Halston Hall, 185 

Hampden, John, 156, 158 

Hampton Court, 112 

Hamt(jn, Lordship of, 33 

Harlech Castle, 10, 29, 48, 72 

Harley, Thomas, 189 

Harold, 3 

Harpur, Richard, 131 

Harris, Serjeant, 139 

HartlelDury, 180 

Harurn, Thomas, 168 

Hasillwall, WilHam, 234 

Hassald, John, 210 

Hastings, family of, 5 

Hastings, Sir William, 20 

Haughton, James, 244 

Haute, Richard, 25 

Haverfordwest, 3,90-1, TOO, 102, 175, 
281, 290 

Havre, 255 

Hawarden Castle, 4 

Hay, 36, 290 

Heath, Nicholas, Bishop of Wor- 
cester, Lord President (1553-5), ^i, 



Henden, Baron, i6i 
Heneage, Sir Thomas, 103 
Henry I., 4, 5, iSi, 183 
Henry H., 4 
Henry HI., 131 
Henry IV., 12, 13, 47 
Henry v., 11, 14, 17, 20, 182 
Henry VI., 12, 14, 19, 230-1 
Henry VII., 2, 11, 17, 20. 23, 29, 34, 

47, 49, 52, 185, 202, 263, 291-3 
Henry VIII. , 18, 20, 27 «. 3, 32, 34-5, 
37, 46, 54, 65, 69, 85, 114, 134, 
141, 162, 1S5, 203-5, 217, 237, 
270 «. 2, 272, 291, 293 
Henry, son of James I., 270 n. 2 
Herbert, Henry, 2nd Earl of Pem- 
broke of the 2nd creation. See 
Herbert, Henry, 4th Baron Her- 
bert of Cherbury, 187 
Herbert, Humfrey, 1S9 
Herbert of Cherbury, Lord (ist Baron 

Herbert of Cherbury), 46 
Herbert, Philip, 118 
Herbert, Sir Edward, 263 
Herbert, Sir George, 83 
Herbert, Sir Richard, 68, 78, 82, 

Herbert, Sir William, Earl of Pem- 
broke of the 1st creation, 27, 291 
Herbert, Sir William, ist Earl of 
Pembroke of the 2nd creation, 
Lord President (1550-3), 81-3, 
Herbert, Walter, 57 
Herbert, William, 118 
Herbert, William, Lord Herbert (of 

Shurlandi"), 174 
Hereford, 3, 8, 10, 12, 26, 58, 89, 90, 
99, 102, 137, 141, 168, 180, 183, 
21 1-4, 278 
Hereford, county of, 5, 8, 12, 17, 27, 
28, 30, 32, 34, 37, 40, 42-3, 57, 
72, 91, 98, 134, 139, 147, 148, 160, 
163, 168, 170-1, 173-4, 183, 252 
n. I, 28 1 
Hereford, Earl of, 9 
Hereford, Earl of, 5 
Heriott, Catherine, 99 
Hertford, Earl of, 5 
Hertfordshire, 151, 165 
Heylyn, Richard, 161 
Hill, Anthony, 151 
Holinshed, 86, 141 
Holt Castle (Castle Leon), 14, 292 

Holt, Thomas, 270 
Holywell, 150 
Hope, 290 
Hopedale, 292 
Howard, Lady, 55 
Hudihras, 173 
Hullins, Oliver, 260 
Hunt, Sir William, priest, 58 
Huntingdon, Earl of, 37 
Huntingdon, Henry of, 141 
Hunton, Thomas, 173, 175 
Huntynton, 36 
Hutton, Serjeant, 139 
Hyde, Edward, 159, 161. See 
Clarendon, Lord 

Ireland, 15, 33, 70, 75, 80, 86, 105- 
6, 182, 211, 239, 252, 254, 256^ 

Isabel, daughter of Strongbow, 5 

James L, 129, 143-5, 19S, 270 

Jenkins, Judge, 48 
Jenkyn, Gitto, 62 
Jersey, 85 
Jethro, 144 
John, 4,182 
Johns, Lewes, 70 
Joinville, Geoffrey de, 182 
Joinville, Sieur de, 182 
Jones, Edward, 234 
Jones, Philip, 174 
Jonson, Ben, 87, 129 

Kedewen (Caedewen), 65, 68, 270,. 

Kenaston, Humphrey, 275 
Kent, Richard, Earl of, 292-3 
Kery (Kerry), 65, 6S, 270, 291 
Keviliock (Cyfeiliog), 65-6, 270, 292. 
Kidderminster, 29, 197 
Kidwelly, 6, 292 
Kidwelly Castle, lO 
Kildare, Earl of, 74 
Kinaston, Mr., 160 
King's Langley, 51 
Knighton, 1S3, 291 
Knockin, 6 

Kynaston, George, 276 
Kynlleth, 69 
Kynton, 36 

Lacy, family of, 5,182 

Lacy, Matilda (Maud) de, 182 

Lacy, Walter de, 182, 185 



Ladislaus II., 31 

Lamharde, 259 

Lamphey, 77 

Lancaster, county of, 231, 263 

Lancaster, Court of the Duchy of, 158 

Lancaster, Duchy of, 90, 132, 292 

Laugharne, General, 172 

Laugharne (Laugherne), lOl, 292 

Lawes, Henry. 173 

Lee (Leigh), George, 255 

Lee, Rowland, Bishop of Coventry 
and Lichfield, Lord President 
(1534-43), 2, 49, 59, So-i, 83, 
85, 97, 106, 108-9, iSo, 205, 236-7, 
270-2, 287 

Leicester, Earl of, 86, 212, 215 

Leicester (Leycetr), 25 

Leighton, Edward, 255 

Leighton, Thomas, 209 

Leighton, William, 210 

Leland, John, 52, 196 

L' Estrange, family of, 6 

Lewes, — , 62 

Lewis, David, 106 

Lewis, Jane, 194 

Lewis, Mr., 233 

Lewis (servant of Bishop Lee), 64 

Lewkenor, Sir Richard, 201, 241 

Leytewich, 78 

Lhuyd, Humphrey, 188 

Lichfield, 31, 59, 203, 207, 236, 

Lincoln, 197 

Lincolnshire, 75, 79 

L'Isle and Dudley, Lord de, 239 

Litleton, Adam, 267 

Litleton, Mr., 233 

Liverpool, 254 

Llandaff, 8 

Llangevenny, 78 

Llangollen, 17S 

Llanlledan, 74 

Llanrwst, 15 

Llanstephan, 6, 290 

Llewelyn, S 

Lloyd, David (o'r Plas), 65 

Lloyd, Edward, 234 

Lloyd, John ap Morice, 6^ 

Lloyd, Richard, 64 

Lloyd, Richard, 163-4 

Lloyd, Sir Marmaduke, 194, 263 

Lloyd, Sir Richard, 166 

Lollards, 33 

London, 34, 53, loi, 155 n. i, 156, 
163, 166, 169, 185, 188-9, 231, 
236-7, 263, 265 

Londres, William de, 5 

Lort, Henry, 261 

Lort, Roger, 172 fi. i 

Lort, Sampson, 172 tz. 2 

Lougher, Watkyn, 62 

Lucan, 176 

Lucy, Sir Thomas, 262 

Ludford Bridge, 182 

Ludlow, 2-3, 6, II, 23, 27, 29, 35,, 
52-3, 79, 81, 85, 87, 98, 105, 
109, 111-13, 120, 141, 148, 150-1, 

155 71. I, 161, 1634, 174, 176-8, 
180-97, 201-2, 204, 212, 217, 230, 
232-3. 235, 237-40, 246, 249-251, 

271, 273, 278 

Ludlow Castle, 2, 30, 37, 57, 70-1,, 
88, 113, 117, 160, 170, 173-4^ 
178, 180-196, 199, 211, 22S, 243, 
247, 267, 288 

Ludlow, Edmund, 174 

Ludlow, the Bull Inn, 185, 188 ;. 
Castle Street, 184 ; Galford's 
Tower, 193 ; Guild of St. John 
the Evangelist, 35 ; Palmers' 
Guild, 192 ; Priory of S. John the 
Evangelist, 192 ; S. Austin's, 188 ; 
S. Lawrence's Church, 23, 187 w. i, 
189, 193, 195 ; S. Mary Magda- 
lene's Chapel, 183 

Lugharneys, 43 

Lycurgus, 106 

Lyndrige, 58 

Macci.esfiei,d, Charles, Earl of,. 

Lord President (16S9), 178, 195, 

Magor, 292 
Mallett, F., 161 
Malvern, Little, 23 
Manninge (Braband), 226 
Mansell, Francis, 146 
Manwaringe, Sir Arthur, 255 
March, Earldom of, 17, 37, 291 
March, Richard, Earl of, and Duke- 

of York, 182, 196 
Margaret, the Lady, 202 
Marian, Henry, 30 /i. 5 
Marshal, William the, 5 
Martin, Sir Henry, priest, 32 
Martyn, E., 161 
Martyn, John, 25 
Mary Tudor, 2, 20, 49-53, 58, 74, 

84, 86, 196-7, 206, 235, 270, 285 
Mary, wife of William III., 2 
Massinger, Philip, 118 



Mathewe, Sir William, loi n. i 

Matthew, George, 65 

Matthewes, — , 267 

Matthews, Morgan, 57 ^^. 5 

Maxtoke Park. 59 

Mechanteth (Machynlleth), 264 

Medlicott, Mr., 233 

Melencth, 71, 291 

Merionethshire, 9, 29, 33, 40-2, 45, 

72, 147, 163, 165, 171, 264, 271 
Merivale (Shrewsbury), 203 
]\Ieuricke, Catherine, 99 
Middleton, Sir Hugh, 147 
Middleton, Sir Thomas, 44, 263 
Mikewyne, Griffith, 203 
IMildmay, Sir Walter, 9S 
Milford Haven, 63, 71, 82, 100, 254, 

Millet, Master, 35 
Milton, John, 2,173 
Milward, Robert, 171 
Mochnant, 69 
Mocktree Chase, 246 
Mold Castle, 4 
Moldesdale, 292 
Molyneux, Edward, 86 
Monmouth, 5, 28 n., 70, 90, 126, 183, 

Monmouth, county of, 41, 98, 163, 

252 n. I, 253, 264, 281 
Montgomery, 3, 70-1, 291 
Montgomery, Arnulf of, 5 
Montgomery Castle, 88 
Montgomery, county of, 41-2, 45, 

79, 163, 178, 257, 264, 267, 270 
Montgomery, Hugh of, 4 
Montgomery, Roger of, 3, 17, 181 
Morgan, land of, 5 
Morgan, Mr., 201 
Morgan, Roger, 67 
Morgan, William, 102 
Morris, Richard, 151 
Mortimer, Anne, 1S2 
Mortimer, Edmund de, 3rd Earl of 

March, 182 
Mortimer, family of, 4-6, 11, 184, 269 
Mortimer, Roger de, ist Earl of 

March, 12 n. 3, 1S2 
Mortimer, Roger de, 2nd Earl of 

March, 182 
Mortimer, Roger de, 4th Earl of 

March, 182 
Mortimer, Sir Edmund de, 11, 182 
Mortimer, Sir Hugh de, iSi 
Morton, Archbishop, 30 

Morvile, 104 

Moses, 144 

Mostyn, Piers, So n. 2 

Mostyn, Thomas, 289 

Mostyn, Thomas, Lord of, 80 n, 2 

Moyses, 249 

Mytton, Adam, 234 

Mytton, John, 185 

Nantconway, 16 

Neath Abbey, 62 

Nedeham, Sir John, 25 n. I 

Nevill, Sir Edward, 14 

Newcastle, 159 

Newmarch, Bernard of, 5 

Newport, 36, 231, 290 

Newport, Lord, 179 

Newton, Peter, 34, 203, 205 

Newton, Sir Peter, 30 ;/. 5 

Nicholas, Secretary, 169 

Nile, River, 176 

Norfolk, Duke of (John Mowbray, 

4th Duke of the Mowbray 

House), 14 
Norfolk, Duke of (Thomas Howard, 

2nd Duke of the Howard House), 


Norfolk, family of, 5 

Normandy, 3, 255 

Northampton, Countess of, 194-5 

Northampton, Earl of, Lord Presi- 
dent (1617-30), 129, 147, 150, 199- 
200, 213, 246, 265, 287 

Northumberland, 159 

Northumberland, Duke of (John 
Dudley), 81, 287 

Norton, 291 

Ogmore, 292 

O'Neill, Shane, 86 

Orange, Prince of, 187 

Orleans, Henry, Duke of, 52 

Orleton, 37 11. 2 

Orleton, Adam de, 12 ;z. 3 

Ormond, Duchess of, 175 

Ossory, Earl of, 75 

Oswestry, 6, 56, 64, 180, 231, 264-6, 

270, 293 n. 2 
Owen, Edward, 231, 234 
Owen, George, 7 n. i, 127, 278- 

80, 282 
Owen, Thomas, 231 
Oxford University, 197 ; All Souls' 

College, 229 ; Brasenose College, 

31 ; Jesus College, 106 



Packington, Sir John, 66, 138, 

Paget, Lord, 85 
Paine, Thomas, 201 
Painswick, 104 

Palmer, Attorney-General, 170 
Parsons, Robert, 212 
Paston Letters, 25 
Paston, Sir John, 25 
Pastowe, 62 

Paulet, Sir Hugh, 84-5, 106 
Paulet, Sir William, 56 
Pavior, John, 228 
Peirce, Lloyd, 257 
Pembroke, 5 

Pembroke, Countess of, 200 
Pembroke, county of, 11, 41-2, 45, 

68, 71, 125, 146-7, 149, 163, 

172, 253, 261 
Pembroke, Earldom of, 5, 290-1 
Pembroke, Earl of, 15. See Herbert, 

Sir William, p. 27 
Pembroke, Earl of, 21 n. 2, 2S7. 

See Herbert, Sir William, pp. 81- 

Pembroke, Henry Herbert, 2nd 

Earl of, Lord President (1586- 

1601), 89, 105, 114-30, 185, 200-1, 

208, 219, 230, 242, 253-4, 263-4, 

278, 287, 2S9 
Pembroke, Herbert Thomas, Sth 

Earl of, 179 
Penanmen, 16 
Penarth, loi «. i 
Penkethley, 36 
Penrhos, 290 
Penry, 126 n. 3 
Penshurst, 85, 113 
Perche, John, 234 
Perrott, Sir John, 99, 100, 103 
Pershore, 58, 78, 176 
Peshale, Alina and Richard de, 7 11. 3 
Peters, Hugh, i-jz n. r 
Phelips, Thomas, 233 
Phetiplace, Mr., 105 
Philippa, the Lady, 182 
Philips, Sir David, 30 n. 5 
Philps, Thomas, 56 
Philistines, 172 n. i 
Phillips, Fabian, 100- 1, no, 112, 

Phillips, Richard, 16S-9 
Phipson, 100 

Pickstock, Edward, 229-30 
Plots, 144 

Piers, William, 226 

Pierson, Rev. Thomas, 189 

Plinlimmon, 3 

Pole, Reginald, 74 

Pole, Richard de la, t^t, 

Pole, Sir Reginald, 29 

Pole, Sir Richard, 30 n. 5 

Ponthieu, 4 

Porte, Justice, 69 

Portugal, 74 

Pov/el, Daniel, 188 

Powel, David, 188 

Powell of Oswaldstree, 109 

Powys, 3, 56, 6S-9, 72, 1 78, 263, 

270, 292 
Powys, Earl of, 170 «. 6 
Powys, Lord, 72, 292 
Preese (Price), Edward, 233 
Presteign, 61, 270, 291 
Price, Ellis, 109 
Price, Sir Richard, 172 n. i 
Prideaux, Mr., 158 
Prince, Richard, 255 
Prynne, William, 157 
Puleston, Mr. John, 203 

Radforde, Thomas, 132 

Radnor, 70, 183, 291 

Radnor, county of, 41, 42 n^ 2, 45, 

71, 147, 163, 270 
Raglan, 28, 290 
Raglande, Sir Thomas, 104 
Rantone, 72 
Rhayader, 291 
Rhuddlan, 3-4 
Rhuddlan Castle, 4 
Rhuddlan, Robert of, 3 
Rhuddlan, Statute of, 9, 10 ;/. I 
Richard L, 17 
Richard H., 47 

Richard IH., 17, 23, 37, 291 2 
Richard's Castle, 183 
Ridgeway, — , 267 
Rivers, Antony, Earl, 19-2T, 25-6, 

28, 202 
Roberts, Robert, 171 
Rochester, 23, 183 
Rome, Bishop of, 77 n. 2 
Russell, — , 59 
Ruthin, 292-3 

St. Anne's, 35 

St. Asaph, 57, 89, III, 25S 

St. Clears, 5 

St. David's, 76-7, 89, 122 




St. Dunstan's Church, Fleet Street, 
London, 169 

St. John of Jerusalem, 16 

St. Paul's Cathedral, 30, 274 

St. Winifred's Well, 150 

Salisbury, John, 6b 

Salisbury Cathedral, 127 

Salisbury, Robert Cecil, Earl of, 145 

Salter, — , 59 

Salysbury, John, 57, 72 

Sampson, Richard, Bishop of Coven- 
try and Lichfield, Lord President 
(1543-S), 51, 81-2, 287 

Scotland, 9, 74, 257 

Scots, 144 

Scott, Sir John, 20 

Scrope, — , 125 

Scrope, Edmund, 213 

Scudamore, John, 64, 72 

Selman, Mrs., 194 

Senlac, 3 

Severn, River, 3-4, 6, 10, 38, 176, 
196, 260, 274 

Seymour, Lord Admiral, 197 

Shakespeare, 118 

Sherer, Master, 206, 227 

Shirburne, Richard, 263 

Shrewsbury, Charles, Duke of, 178 

Shrewsbury, county palatine of, 4 

Shrewsbury, John, Earl of, 25 

Shrewsbury (Salop), 3, 21, 30, 62, 
69, 87, 90, 97, 141, 148, 180-1, 
202-4, 206-10, 225-34, 255, 264-8, 
278-9 n. I 

Shrewsbury, the Abbey, 205 ; Booth 
Hall, 230 ; Council House, 205- 
6, 208 ; St. Chad's Church, 69, 
205, 207 ; Free School, 207-8 ; 
streets of (various), 209; Welsh 
Bridge, 227 ; Wyld Copp, 206, 208 

Shropshire (Salop), 17, 26-8, 30, 32, 
34, 37, 40, 42, 64, 67, 104, 134. 
147-8, 160, 162-3, 168, 170-1, 173- 
4, 176-7, 180, 183, 185, 189. 231, 
252 n. I, 254, 261, 264-5, 281 

Shuttleworth, Sir Richard, 120, 123, 
201, 208, 230-2, 241 , 

Simon, Thomas, 170 

Skenfreth, 292 

Slavs, 6 

Smith, George, 104 

Smith, — , 233 

Smyth, Bishop, Lord President (1501- 
12), 30-2, 59, 196-7, 202-3 

Snowdon, 3-5, 245 

Snowdon, Justice of, 10 

Solon, 106 

Somerset, Edward Seymour, Duke 

of, 82 
Somerset, Robert Carr, Earl of, 139 
Somersetshire, 34, 38, 100, 253-4 
Spenser, Edmund, 87 
Spytty Jevan, 16 
Stafford, 68, 72 
Stafford, county of, 17 
(i) Stafford, Edward, Lord, 37 

(2) Stafford, Henry, Lord, 72 

(3) Stafford, Henry, Lord, son of (2), 

(4) Stafford, Edward, Lord, brother 

of (3), 103 

Stanley, Sir William, 29, 292 

Stapleton, 43 

Staunton Lacy, 261 

Stephen, 277 

Stokeley, John, 32 

Stonihurst (Stonyhurst), 263 

Stradling, Robert, 62-3 

Stradlyng, Sir Edward, loi n. i 

Strange, Lady, 275 n. 2 

Strongbow, 5 

Strype, no- 11 

Styrcheley, 104 

Sulyard, John, 25 11. i 

Sulyard, Sir William., 68-9, 70, 73 

Surrey, Earl of, 33 

Swansea, 82 

Symonds, William, 83 

Sydney, Ambrozia, 87, 193 

Sydney, Lady Mary, 86, 193, 207 

Sydney, Mary, 87, 118, 196 

Sydney, Sir Henry, Lord President 
(1559-86), 2, iS, 21, 85-113, 117, 
181, 184-5, ''QSj 197-8, 200, 206-7, 
211, 219, 238-40, 244-5, 252, 254- 
5, 273, 281, 287 

Sydney, Sir Philip, 87, 207, 289 

Sydney, Sir William, 85 

Sydnour, Richard, 58 

Taff, river, 5 
Talbot, Catherine, 118 
Taverner, John, 246 
Tawe, river, 76 
Taylor, Jeremy, 172-3 
Teme, river, 181 
Temple, the, 169 
Terouenne, 34 
Tewkesbury, 52, 180 
Thirsk, III 



Thomas, William, 123 
Thompson, Serjeant, 178 
Thornbury, 34-5, 52, 70, 103 
Throgmorton (Throckmorton), Sir 

John, 89, 105, 200, 206, 262, 281 
Tickenhill House, 31, 52, 146, 196-8, 

235> 238-9, 243 
Tinlern Abbey, 5 
Tiptoft, Sir John, 292 
Tourner, Timothy, 267 
Townesend, Dame Anne, 193 
Townesend, Henry, 116, 193, 210, 

213, 226, 239 
Townesend, Sir Robert, 193, 245 
Towy, River, 5, 76 
Traherne, Philip, 213 
Treby, Sir George, 179 
Tremaine, Serjeant, 178 
Tremostyn, 80 n. 2 
Trevor, John, 64 
Tudor, Jasper, 291 
Tuke, Sir Brian, 236-7 
Turbill, Christopher, 62 

Udall, Sir William, 30 n. 5 
Usk, Lordship of, 28 n. 
Usk, river, 5 
Uvedale, Sir William, 202-3 

Valence, family of, 5 

Vandyke, 187 

Vaucouleur, 182 

Vaughan, Henry, 172 n. i 

Vaughan, Howell, 15 

Vaughan, John, 172 n. i 

Vaughan, John, of Glan y Llyn, 279 

Vaughan, John Owen, 263 

Vaughan, Robert, 99 

Vaughan, Thomas, 20 

Vaughan, William, 97-8 

Vaughan v. Vaughan, 157 

Verdun, Theobald de, 6 

Vernon, Sir Henry, 30 n. 5 

Vernon, Thomas, 71 

Vicars, Robert, 201 

Vikings, 4 

Voysey, John, Bishop of Exeter, 

Lord President (1525-34), 49, 57, 

59, 61, 204, 2S7 

Walcott, John of Walcott, 171 

Walkden, 152 

Walsingham, Sir Francis, 19, 60, 

102, 105 
Walter, Justice, 188, 193 

Warden, 248 

Wareune, John de, 9 

Warr, Thomas, Lord la, 78 

Warren, John, 178 

Warthrenyon, 291 

Warwick, Anne, Countess of, 28 n. 

Warwick, John Dudley, Earl of, 82 

Warwick, Richard Neville, Earl of, 

28 n. 
Warwickshire, 28 ;/. I, 30, 252 n. i, 

Washbourne, Thomas, 167 
Waterford, 63 
Waties, Edward, 193 
Watson, Simon, 267 
Welshpool, 64, 174, 178 
Wentworth, Thomas, 155, 276 
Westminster, 20, 53, 127, 139-41, 

164-5, 167, 174, 218, 282 
Westmoreland, 159 
Weston, Richard, 131 
Whitchurch, 264 
Whitecastle, 292 
Whitgift, 99, loi, 110-12, 114, 273, 

Whitington, Guy, 12 
Whitington, Robert, 12 
Whitlocke, Bulstrode, 172 n, i 
Wigmore, 5, 63, 68, 70, 79, 270, 291 
Wigmore Castle, 88, 182 
Wilde, — , 133 
Wildgose, 104 
William the Conqueror, 3 
William the Marshal, 5 
William Rufus, 5-6 
William HL, 2 
Williams of Thame, Lord, Lord 

President (1558-9), 81, 84-5, 287 
Williams, Nicholas, 57 n. 5 
Willoughby, Lord, 179 
Wilson, John, 30 n. 5 
Wilton, 82, 113, 127 
Wiltshire, 177 
Windsor, Sir A., 58 
Wisbech, 23 

Wolsey, zi, 49, Si-3, 55, 58, 235 
Wood, Alexander, 230, 232 
Wood, Elizabeth, 229, 231 
Woodstock, 36 
Worcester, 23, 62, 81, 83, 85, 89, 

90, loi, 103, no, 132-4, 168, 176, 

180, 240, 262, 289 
Worcester, Bishop of (Nicholas 

BuUingham), 262 
Worcester Cathedral, 113 



Worcester, Prior of, 58 

Worcester Priory, 74 

Worcester, county of, 12, 18, 26, 
28, 32, 34, 63, 69, 91. 112, 132-4, 
147-9, 151. 160, 163, 168, 170-1, 
173-4, 187, 252 n. I, 264, 281 

Worcestershire, Grand Jury of, 1 57 «. 2 

Worcester, Charles, Earl of, 176-7 

Worcester, Countess of, 1 77 

VvT^orcester, Earl of, William Somer- 
set, 3rd earl, 64, 66, 70, 270 

Worcester, Marquis of, 174-5, 287 

Worhall, Thomas, 123 

Wrexham, 178, 180 

Wye, River, 5 

Wynforton, 291 

Wynn, Sir John, 15, 146 

Yale, 9, 14, 290 

Yelverton, 265 

York, 169 

York, county of, 159 

York, Council of, 138, 159-60 

York, High Commission Court of. 

York, Richard, Duke of, 11, 1S2, 196 

ZOUCH, Lord, Lord President (1602- 
7), 129-30, 133, 156 «. 2, 200, 268, 
279, 2S7 

Prxftied by Hasell, Watson <S' Vtney, Ld., London and Aylesbury. 


Los Angeles 

This book is DUE on the last date stamped below. 


ypL MAY 10 1973 






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